Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation

The incredible scenery you’ll experience on England’s celebrated Coast to Coast Walk can only be rivaled by the warm hospitality you’ll receive along the way. Whether you’re enjoying rich pub…

The incredible scenery you’ll experience on England’s celebrated Coast to Coast Walk can only be rivaled by the warm hospitality you’ll receive along the way. Whether you’re enjoying rich pub meals and luxurious B&B’s or roughing it with some trail mix and a tent, the places you spend your nights on the Coast to Coast Walk are sure to be as memorable as the ones traversed in the daytime hours.

We put together this guide to help you get the most out of your accommodation experience during your Coast to Coast adventure. Here’s what’s covered in the post:

St. Bees Head Coast to Coast Walk

Everything you need to to plan your Coast to Coast Walk – all in one place.

Whether you prefer bunkhouses or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Coast to Coast Walk adventure!

LEARN MORE

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Coast to Coast adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for anyone walking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete and adaptable 12-day, 14-day, and 17-day Coast to Coast itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire walk & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the trail
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW


Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation Basics


Do I need to reserve my accommodation in advance for the Coast to Coast Walk?

Generally speaking, yes. During the peak season (May-August), it is very likely that many places will be sold out nearly every night. Even outside of the busy months, it is a good idea to make advance bookings for places in resort areas, small towns with few accommodation options, and on weekends.

Most campgrounds on the Coast to Coast Walk do not require reservations, but there are a few notable exceptions. You should book ahead for any campgrounds in the Lakes District during peak months, and at smaller camping areas like Lord Stones.

When booking for peak season, the earlier the better. If possible, try to reserve the most in-demand accommodations 3-6 months in advance. If you’re more of a last-minute person, don’t despair. Even calling a few days ahead while you’re on the trail could really pay off.

Coast to Coast Walk Camping Gear
Bookings aren’t required for most campgrounds on the C2C, but there are some important exceptions.

How much does accommodation cost on the Coast to Coast Walk?

A wonderful aspect of the Coast to Coast Walk is its very customizable nature. No two walkers have the same experience on this dynamic trek; in fact, if you walk it twice you’ll likely have vastly different experiences each time! Just as you can tailor your itinerary to match your timeframe and your packing list to fit your travel style, so can you choose accommodation to fit your budget.

Prices vary greatly from place to place, but generally speaking, here’s what you can expect to pay for accommodation along the Coast to Coast Walk:

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £75+ (per person/per night)
  • Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40 (per person/per night)
  • Camping: £10 (per person/per night)

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the typical Coast to Coast stops. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: £70+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: £40-70 (per person/per night)
  • Budget:<£40 (per person/per night)

Want to know more about budgeting and money on the Coast to Coast Walk? Check out our Ultimate Guide for a detailed cost list and other essential information!

Full English Breakfast at a B&B on the Coast to Coast walk
If you choose to stay at B&B’s. you can expect to eat like a king!

Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation Directory


There are fabulous places to stay along the entire Coast to Coast route. In this directory, we’ll give you key details about all of your options, as well as our best recommendations for every budget.

We’ve organized our list to follow most variations of the classic west-to-east walking itinerary.

If you’re looking for a helpful visual to go with this list, be sure to check out this Coast to Coast Maps & Routes article!

Patterdale Coast to Coast Walk
The charming village of Patterdale.

St. Bees

High-End: Stone House Farm

You’ll start your walk fully energized from the comfortable beds and lavish breakfast spread at Stone House Farm. The service is friendly and personalized and the location is convenient. Those on a tight budget can camp in the lovely garden.

Mid-Range: The Seacote Hotel

The oceanfront location of this hotel means that it provides great views and easy access to the official start of the Coast to Coast Walk. A full English breakfast is included in your room rate and dogs are welcome (for an additional fee).

Budget: Seacote Caravan Park

If you plan on staying in St. Bees for a few nights before starting your walk, this is a great budget option. You can rent a holiday caravan that is quite luxurious and provides beautiful views (minimum 3-night stay). Alternatively, a great budget option is to camp at their well-appointed seaside campground.

Cleator

High-End: Jasmine House B&B

With spotless rooms, helpful staff, and a hearty breakfast, this is an excellent option in Cleator. It is located just steps from the Coast to Coast route, making it a convenient place to stop.

Mid-Range: Ennerdale Country House Hotel

The friendly staff at Ennerdale Country House Hotel welcome both people and dogs to their tranquil abode. The lovely garden is a perfect place to relax after a day of walking.

Ennerdale Bridge

High-End: Thorntrees B&B

Thorntrees B&B is an excellent stop on the Coast to Coast Walk for a multitude of reasons. The location is ideal for walkers, the rooms are cozy and luxurious, and the food is top-notch.

Mid-Range: Fox and Hounds Inn

A stay at this cozy pub and inn is sure to be a quintessential Coast to Coast experience. The Fox and Hounds is at the heart of Ennerdale Bridge, and a popular gathering point for C2C walkers to enjoy a pint and swap stories. Rooms are basic but comfortable.

Budget: YHA Ennerdale

To reach this well-appointed hostel, you’ll need to walk an extra couple of hours past the town of Ennerdale Bridge and traverse the entire length of Ennerdale Water. Those willing to go the extra miles will be rewarded with an atmospheric stay at a great value (private rooms and dorms are available).

Black Sail Hut

Mid-Range: YHA Black Sail Hostel

If you are looking to complete the Coast to Coast Walk at a more relaxed pace, you may want to consider staying at the Black Sail to break up a long and strenuous stretch of the walk. If you choose to do this, it is imperative to reserve your bed at the Black Sail in advance, as it only sleeps 16 people in total.

Black Sail Hostel Coast to Coast Walk
The delightfully cozy Black Sail Hostel.

Rosthwaite

High-End: Hazel Bank Country House

If you’re looking for an all-around exceptional Cumbrian B&B experience, look no further than Hazel Bank Country House. From the stunning setting to their homemade truffles, every detail is curated to make your stay relaxing and memorable.

Mid-Range: Royal Oak Hotel

This cozy family-run hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Borrowdale, giving you easy access to the Coast to Coast route and a smattering of pubs. The knowledgeable staff are happy to provide helpful advice to C2C walkers.

Budget: YHA Borrowdale

YHA consistently provides excellent budget accommodations throughout the UK, and the Borrowdale location is no different. With convenient amenities (drying room, communal kitchen, free wifi), central location, and friendly lounge, it is the best budget option in the area. Private rooms, dorms, camping pods, and tent camping are available.

Grasmere

High-End: Heidi’s Grasmere Lodge

This exceptional B&B is located steps from the center of town, yet still provides a tranquil setting and beautiful views. The staff is friendly and the service exceptional, plus there’s a great cafe on site.

Mid-Range: Raise Cottage

Raise cottage provides both private rooms and dorm-style accommodation, but it is a big step up from your typical bunkhouse or hostel. The delightful owner serves up fresh bread and homemade jam each morning, and the cottage is rustic yet tidy. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to walk an additional two miles past Grasmere to reach Raise Cottage.

Budget: YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe

You guessed it- another YHA! It it unlikely that you’ll tire of staying at these hostels, especially when you see the gorgeous setting for the YHA Grasmere. Located in a magical old mansion just minutes from the shops and restaurants in town, this hostel is excellent. Choose from private rooms, dorms, and camping.

Patterdale

High-End: Old Water View Hotel

Options in Patterdale are rather limited, but you won’t be starved for creature comforts at the Old Water View. Rooms are cozy and peaceful, and the breakfast is excellent. Those looking for a more affordable and/or more unique accommodation can stay in the quaint “Herdy Hut” shepherd’s hut in the garden.

Mid-Range: The White Lion Inn

While it may be a bit lacking in regards to stellar service and smart furnishings, the White Lion makes up for it in convenience and camaraderie. The downstairs pub is a festive gathering place for Coast to Coast Walkers and it’s located directly along the route.

Budget: YHA Patterdale

From the cozy lounge area to the well-stocked communal kitchen to the newly-renovated showers to the serene lakefront setting, there’s a lot to love at this hostel. The YHA Patterdale offers private rooms, dorms, and camping.

Shap

High-End: The Greyhound Hotel

Though its history can be traced all the way back to 1680, there are plenty of modern touches to accompany all of the Greyhound’s old world charm. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, many with nice views, as well as an excellent bar and delicious breakfast.

Mid-Range: Brookfield House B&B

Although the price falls into the mid-range category, the hospitality at Brookfield House certainly feels high-end! The warm and friendly owners are legendary among C2C walkers for knowing exactly what weary hikers need from the moment they arrive and throughout their stay.

Budget: New Ing Lodge

This lovely B&B is located in a pastoral setting on the edge of town. It offers great amenities at a reasonable price, especially for pairs and groups. There is also a large space with great facilities on-site for campers.

Kirkby Stephen

High-End: Fletcher House

With a prime location and plenty of thoughtful touches for walkers, Fletcher House is arguably the best place to stay in Kirkby Stephen. After a night at this well-appointed B&B, you’ll be fully rested and fueled up for the next stage of your Coast to Coast adventure.

Mid-Range: The King’s Arms B&B

The central location, lovely terrace, and clean, cozy rooms make the King’s Arms an excellent moderately-priced option. There are en suite rooms available, as well as a few lower-priced rooms with a shared bathroom.

Budget: Kirkby Stephen Hostel

Located inside an old church, this convenient hostel has a beautiful and unique interior. The ambiance is balanced nicely with functional amenities, such as a communal kitchen, free wifi, bike and luggage storage, and a drying room. All of the beds are in dormitories with shared bathrooms.

A trail sign on the Coast to Coast Walk shows the distances to St. Bees and Robin Hood's Bay
A trail sign in Kirkby Stephen reminds walkers of the incredible distances they’ve covered!

Keld

High-End: Frith Lodge B&B

This atmospheric B&B is set in a stunning location with grand vistas of the Dales in every direction. Guests will enjoy warm hospitality, well-equipped rooms, and delicious homemade meals.

Mid-Range: Butt House B&B

This cozy B&B is centrally located in the small, idyllic village of Keld. The guest rooms offer thoughtful touches and great views, and the common area is a perfect place to relax after a long day on your feet.

Budget: Keld Bunk Barn

This unique accommodation puts a luxury spin on the classic bunkhouse. Not only are affordable-yet-plush dorm beds available, but there are also private en suite rooms and deluxe yurts for rent. Enjoy a soak in the private hot tub and dine on delicious homemade meals to really make the most of this little oasis in Keld.

Reeth

High-End: The Burgoyne Hotel

Set in a beautiful country house, the Burgoyne offers classic charm and fantastic service. Guests will enjoy super comfortable beds, tasteful furnishings, and delicious breakfast fare.

Mid-Range: Ivy Cottage B&B

This charming bed and breakfast is located right on the village green in the center of Reeth. Each cozy room comes with its own private bathroom and plenty of thoughtful amenities. The afternoon tea is lovely and the breakfast features local ingredients.

Budget: Orchard Caravan Park

Although there is a two-night minimum to rent their caravans, Coast to Coast walkers can camp or stay in the bunkhouse for a very modest fee. Guests are given a warm welcome and a good cup of tea on arrival. Orchard Caravan Park is located in a pretty pastoral setting about fifteen minutes’ walk from the village green.

Richmond

High-End: The Castle House B&B

If by this point in your Coast to Coast Walk you are seeking a bit of pampering, look no further than the Castle House. Named for its location steps from the iconic Richmond Castle, this bed and breakfast feels just as regal as its neighbor. From the nightly turndown service to the luxurious bathrooms, every detail is impeccable.

Mid-Range: The Turf Hotel

This centrally located hotel offers basic accommodation for a very good value. The rooms are clean and comfortable and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Budget: The Golden Lion Bunkhouse

Cheap accommodation is hard to come by in swanky Richmond, so the Golden Lion is truly a hidden gem. The space consists of a small dormitory with a shared bathroom and a kettle. Located above the Golden Lion Pub in the heart of Richmond, this is a comfortable and convenient choice.

Richmond Castle Coast to Coast Walk
Richmond Castle.

Brompton-on-Swale

Mid-Range: The Farmers Arms Inn

Brompton-on-Swale is an ideal stop for those looking to break up the long walk between Richmond and Danby Wiske, but accommodation options are limited in this area. Fortunately, the Farmers Arms serves up quality hospitality in its well-appointed private guestrooms. A full English breakfast is included, and there is a playground for those walking with children.

Budget: Brompton on Swale Bunk Barn

This dorm-style accommodation offers friendly lodging at a great value. There is a shared kitchen and shower available, and the property is located close to pubs and the village shop. Dogs are welcome and camping is permitted on site.

Danby Wiske

High-End/Mid-Range: Ashfield House B&B (01609 771628)

Though there are rather few accommodation options in Danby Wiske, you can still find a quality bed and breakfast experience at Ashfield House. The friendly owners will make sure that your stay is pleasant and comfortable.

Mid-Range: Inglenook B&B

This is a lovely option in the heart of Danby Wiske. The B&B has a quaint and charming feel, and the hosts serve up plenty of genuine hospitality. Keep in mind that only twin beds are available here.

Budget: The White Swan

The White Swan is a classic country pub of the very best kind. Beyond good ales and hearty meals, they also offer simple accommodation in recently-updated private rooms for a variety of group sizes. Camping is also available on site.

Ingleby Arncliffe

High-End: Park House Guest House

This beautiful gem is located right on the Coast to Coast path and they know how to cater to weary walkers. From laundry service to lifts to the local pub for supper, the wonderful people at Park House will ensure you feel welcome and rejuvenated.

Mid-Range: Swan House B&B

Friendly hosts, luxurious bedding, a well-stocked bar, and a delicious breakfast spread…there’s a lot to love about the Swan House! This reasonably priced accommodation also offers more budget-friendly lodging in their caravan park. Keep in mind that Swan House is a couple of miles from the main Coast to Coast route, although the owners may be able to provide you with a lift back to the path in the morning.

Budget: The Blue Bell Inn

This family-run inn is conveniently located next to the pub and right along the Coast to Coast path. Rooms are basic, but each one is en suite and breakfast is included with your stay. Campers are welcome in a large grassy field behind the pub.

Ingleby Cross Coast to Coast Walk
A coffee stop near Ingleby Cross.

Osmotherley

High-End: Vane House

This bed and breakfast is a clean, comfortable, and cozy place to recharge in the quaint town of Osmotherley. It is located right in the center of the village, with easy access to the pub and shops.

Mid-Range: The Golden Lion Inn

While it’s got plenty of old school 18th-century charm, this isn’t your typical pub accommodation. Rooms at the Golden Lion are very well-appointed with beautiful oak finishes and curated toiletries in the private bathrooms. Breakfast is included with your stay.

Budget: YHA Osmotherley

This is a great budget option with all of the comforts and conveniences you’d expect from a YHA hostel, such as a drying room, lounge, and communal kitchen. There are several choices of room sizes available, and campers are welcome in the large garden.

Clay Bank Top/Great Broughton/Chop Gate

High-End/Mid-Range: Newlands House B&B

Warm hospitality is the trademark of this traditional bed and breakfast in Great Broughton. The friendly hosts will make every effort to ensure your stay is special, from lifts to/from the Coast to Coast path (about two miles away) to home-cooked meals and comfortable furnishings.

Mid-Range: Wainstones Hotel

This comfortable hotel is located in the lovely village of Great Broughton, about two miles north of the Coast to Coast path. If those extra miles sound daunting, fear not- the friendly staff will pick you up and/or drop you off at the trail. Some of the decor could use an updating, but there are plenty of thoughtful touches and good amenities to make Wainstones a great choice.

Budget: Lordstones

Lordstones is the only accommodation that can boast a trailside location at this point in the walk. This luxury camping park features camping pods, yurts, and grassy tent pitches, all with access to excellent bathroom facilities, a farm shop, cafe, and restaurant.

Blakey Ridge

Mid-Range: The Lion Inn

Perhaps the most special aspect of traversing the North York Moors is the feeling one gets of being in the middle of nowhere. The only downside of that is there’s not much accommodation to be had in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, the iconic Lion Inn has been welcoming weary travelers to their remote locales for centuries. A number of room sizes are available, all with private bathrooms and breakfast included. Camping is also permitted on site.

North York Moors Stage 12 Coast to Coast Walk
Beautiful purple heather in the North York Moors.

Glaisdale

High-End: Red House Farm

Not only does Red House Farm offer well-appointed B&B guest rooms and cottages in their tranquil setting, but they also have a pool, spa, and conservatory on site. This is a great place to get in some pampering before you embark on the final stretches of your Coast to Coast Walk.

Mid-Range/Budget: Arncliffe Arms

Conveniently located in the center of Glaisdale and above the town pub, Arncliffe Arms is an excellent option for Coast to Coast walkers. The generous breakfast will keep you fueled for miles and miles!

Grosmont

High-End/Mid-Range: Geall Gallery B&B

The luxurious rooms at this bed and breakfast are as tastefully curated as the landscape paintings in Chris Geall’s gallery below them. Art fans will appreciate this unique accommodation, and all Coast to Coast Walkers will enjoy the cozy on-site cafe and central location.

Mid-Range/Budget: Intake Farm B&B (Littlebeck)

Those looking for a great value may want to consider walking a few extra miles to reach Intake Farm in Littlebeck. Your extra effort will be rewarded with a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake upon arrival, not to mention an excellent shower and lovely pastoral setting. Those on a shoestring budget can camp in the pretty garden and enjoy access to the nice facilities inside the house.

Robin Hood’s Bay

High-End: Fernleigh B&B

A stay at the luxurious Fernleigh is the perfect way to celebrate the completion of your Coast to Coast walk. The newly renovated victorian home features top-notch amenities and beautiful decor on a quiet street near the center of town. The wonderful owners will make sure you feel welcome and well-fed.

Mid-Range: The Grosvenor Hotel

The Grosvenor is a favorite accommodation for many Coast to Coast walkers and for good reason. Guests at this charming hotel will enjoy spotless rooms, a delicious breakfast, and a location that’s just five minutes’ to the beach.

Budget: YHA Boggle Hole

Of all the fantastic YHA hostels, this might be the most magical. Tucked away in an old smugglers cove, the main building is set in a recently-renovated historic mill building. The entire place embraces a fun nautical theme and boasts excellent facilities and lots of fun activities. Dorms and private en suite rooms are available.

Everything you need to to plan your Coast to Coast Walk – all in one place.

Whether you prefer bunkhouses or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Coast to Coast Walk adventure!

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Coast to Coast adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for anyone walking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete and adaptable 12-day, 14-day, and 17-day Coast to Coast itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire walk & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the trail
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW

Shap Coast to Coast Walk Stage Five

What’s Next?

Check out our other great Coast to Coast Walk Resources:

No Comments on Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation

Milford Track | Maps & Routes

The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s most stunning Great Walks and is commonly referred to as the ‘finest walk in the world’. The route starts along the shores…

The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s most stunning Great Walks and is commonly referred to as the ‘finest walk in the world’. The route starts along the shores of Lake Te Anau and finishes in Milford Sound at Sandfly Point. The Milford track is completed in four days with overnight accommodation at well run Department of Conservation huts. This article will introduce you to this incredible trail, give an overview of the Milford Track route, as well as provide in depth maps, navigational resources, and much more so you can be sure you’re ready to tackle the finest walk in the world!

Hikers along New Zealand's Milford Track

Hikers along New Zealand’s Milford Track.

 

In this post

Where is the Milford Track?

Located in the far southwest of New Zealand’s South Island, the Milford Track explores the stunning valleys, high mountain passes, and untouched rainforest of Fiordland National Park.

Map of New Zealand showing the Milford Track

The Milford Track brings walkers to the stunning Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island.

 

The walk begins at Glade Wharf along the shores of Lake Te Anau, which is only accessible via boat from Te Anau Downs. The nearest town to the start of the walk is Te Anau, where there is ample accommodation for both before and after the walk. On the northern end of the track walkers will finish at Sandfly Point, a short boat ride from Milford Sound village. While not exactly a town, here you’ll find overnight accommodation, transportation links, and plenty of tour operators. Walkers may be in for a bit of shock when they encounter the vast number of visitors in Milford Sound for a boat tour, kayak trip, or sightseeing flight after four days in the wilderness!

Milford Sound at the end of the Milford Track.

The Milford Track finishes with a boat ride through Milford Sound.

 

In between Glade Wharf and Sandfly Point, walkers will spend most of their trek exploring two glacially carved valleys (the Clinton and Arthur River valleys) separated by the stunning Mackinnon Pass. You must stay in the designated Department of Conservation huts along the way (unless you have booked a private, guided trek) and you must complete the walk in four days during the Great Walk season from the end of October through the end of April. This is to help manage the total number of walkers on the track at any point and ensure trampers stay reasonably spread out along the trek. The stages of the Milford Track are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut
  • Stage 2: Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut
  • Stage 3: Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut
  • Stage 4: Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point

Milford Track Map

The Milford Track must be completed in four stages.

 

Unlike many long-distance walks, there are no alternate trails along the Milford Track. However, there is the opportunity to take in a few side trails along the way, with the most notable example being a visit to Sutherland Falls, shown on the map below.

Map of Sutherland Falls in New Zealand

Sutherland Falls can be visited via a short detour off the Milford Track.

 

Interactive Milford Track map

The interactive Milford Track map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.

 

Want an interactive map at your fingertips while you hike? Be sure to check out the Hiiker app. This valuable resource gives you access to maps, accommodation, and key information on your phone. You can even use it without data or cell service!

 

How long is the Milford Track?

Most sources list the Milford Track as being 53.5 kilometers or 33.2 miles long from Glade Wharf to Sandfly Point. While this is certainly very accurate, we measure (via GPS) the Milford Track to be 54.5 kilometers long. But what’s a single kilometer!

Of course, measuring the exact distance of the walk has very little practical value as you’ll certainly end up walking a bit further than any exact distance we provide. Most walkers will at a minimum want to take a side trip to see the spectacular Sutherland Falls, which is approximately 4.5 kilometers round-trip. In addition, evening explorations to stretch the legs, countless opportunities to take in view points, and short side trips to trail side lakes will make the distance actually walked vary from person to person.

However, it is still helpful to have an idea of the distances of each stage of the Milford Track. The map below shows just that, with the approximate distances of each stage provided. These distances don’t include a trip to Sutherland Falls so be sure to factor that in as well.

Map of the Milford Tack with stage distances

Distances of the four stages of the Milford Track in kilometers.

 

What is the elevation profile of the Milford Track?

Over the course of the Milford Track’s 54.5 kilometers the trail gains approximately 1,755 meters! Averaged across the four stages this equates to around 440 meters of elevation gain each day. Of course, the majority of this elevation games comes on Stage 2 and 3 of the Milford Track which brings the crossing of Mackinnon Pass.

Mackinnon Pass is the high point (literally and figuratively!) of the Milford Track at 1,154 meters above sea level. Given that you finish at sea-level you can at least appreciate the fact that you’ll ultimately lose more elevation than you’ll gain on the Milford Track.

Mackinnon Pass on the Milford Track

Mackinnon Pass is the high point of the Milford Track.

 

The elevation profile shown below will give you an overview of what each stage of the Milford Track in like in terms of total elevation change as well as distance covered. Elevation is shown on the left side while distance is shown on the bottom. Each blue dot represents one of the Department of Conservation Huts along the route where each stage finishes.

The steepness of the line between any two points reflects the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the the stage. So for instance you can see that the stage from Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut has a lot of elevation gain, while the stage from Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut covers quite a bit of distance.

Elevation profile of the Milford Track in New Zealand

Elevation profile for the Milford Track in kilometers and meters.

 

Which maps should I carry on the Milford Track?

The Milford Track is a remarkably well marked and easy to follow trail. There is little opportunity to take a wrong turn and most trampers will have no problem navigating on the trail. However, we always recommend carrying a map with you on any backcountry or wilderness excursion and the Milford Track is no exception.

When we walked the Milford Track we did not rely on a physical map, instead preferring to utilize GPS navigation on our phones. Given that there is limited to no cell phone service on the Milford Track, it is very important to have a good offline mapping app, such as Gaia GPS, to ensure you’ll be able to access your location along the walk.

In addition to GPS navigation, we recommend all trampers also carry a physical map. In the event the famous Fiordland rain renders your phone unusable you’ll be glad you brought it! There are a few options for Milford Track topographic maps out there, and we recommend the NewTopo map available here. The 1:40,000 scale is sufficient for basic navigation along the route.

Given the high probability of rain during your trek we also recommend bringing a weatherproof carrying case like this one.

Stage-by-stage maps for the Milford Track

The Milford Track is broken into four distinct stages with each stage finishing at a designated Department of Conservation hut. Maps for each of the four stages of the Milford Track are shown below.

Stage 1:  Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut

Distance: 4.8 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +140 m / -150m

Map of Stage 1 of the Milford Track.

Stage 1 from Glade Wharf to Clinton Hut.

 

Stage 2: Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut

Distance: 17.75 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +854 m / -430 m

Map of Stage 2 of the Milford Track

Stage 2 from Clinton Hut to Mintaro Hut.

 

Stage 3: Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut

Distance: 13.7 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +753 m / -1248 m

Map of Stage 3 of the Milford Track.

Stage 3 from the Mintaro Hut to Dumpling Hut.

 

Stage 4: Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point

Distance: 18.3 km
Elevation Gain/Loss: +560 m / -672 m

Map of Stage 4 of the Milford Track.

Stage 4 from the Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point.

 

Milford Track GPS/GPX

If you’re interested in getting access to the GPS data used to create all of the maps in this post, we are happy to offer our Milford Track GPX files for only $4.99. When you download the GPX file, you’ll get route data for each stage of the Milford Track, plus way-points for each of the Department of Conservation huts along the route.

You’ll be able to load the GPX file into the mapping software or GPS phone app of your choice!

Milford Track Map

BUY NOW
 

Apps and offline mapping

As mentioned above we utilized offline downloadable GPS maps on our smartphones to navigate while walking the Milford Track. This is a great way to navigate on the trail as it allows you to see your progress for the day and also doesn’t require a cell phone signal (which you likely won’t have) to display the map. Our Milford Track Offline Mapping post has all the information you need to get set up using an app for your map. This step-by-step article will teach you how to quickly and easily turn your phone into a GPS device.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a simpler way to utilize offline GPS/GPX data, the Hiiker App does all of the work for you. The app allows you to download maps and trail information to your phone so that you can use it without the need for a cell signal or data.

Check out the Milford Track on the Hiiker App!

 

Sandfly Point at the finish of the Milford Track.

 

What’s Next?

Check out our other great Milford Track Resources:

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Abel Tasman Coast Track: The Complete Guide

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, treks that are designed to showcase the best of this stunning country. The Coast Track highlights the…

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, treks that are designed to showcase the best of this stunning country. The Coast Track highlights the incredible beaches, tropical forests, and turquoise waters of the Abel Tasman National Park on the northwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island. Over 60+ kilometers, the Abel Tasman Coast Track follows the often rugged coastline and is serviced by a series of Department of Conservation huts and campsites along the route. The track is the easiest of all the Great Walks due to its easy grades, well maintained trail, and ease of access.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to plan your perfect adventure on the Abel Tasman Coast Track!

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track covers 60+ km from Marahau to Wainui.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track: In this post

Abel Tasman Coast Track: Must Know

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the most popular of the Great Walks. It follows the shoreline from the car park just north of the town of Marahau to its end point at Wainui. However, due to the lack of transportation options at Wainui, many walkers opt to finish at Totaranui by completing the Gibbs Hill track at the end of the walk. Completing the entire walk will take you along 60+ kilometers of this beautiful coastline with overnight accommodation options frequent along the walk. Keep reading below for some essential information as you begin to plan your Abel Tasman Coast Track adventure!

Beach along the Abel Tasman Coast Track

You’ll visit countless stunning beaches along your walk.

 

How long is the Coast Track?

The short answer: it depends!

In general, trampers should expect to cover around 60 kilometers on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This will of course vary depending on your chosen itinerary, if you’re able to take low-tide routes, side trips to see points of interest, and countless other factors. However, we’ve provided some general distances for planning purposes below:

  • For those completing the Coast Track in its entirety and finishing at the Wainui car park you’ll cover approximately 58 kilometers.
  • If opt to complete the Gibbs Hill Track to connect back to Totaranui (which we recommend!) you should plan on covering 62 kilometers.

In addition to the main track, there are countless opportunities to take short detours along the walk to stunning viewpoints, waterfalls, and sandy beaches. These will surely add a bit of distance to your total walk, but we highly recommend exploring while on your walk!

Looking for more resources on maps for the Abel Tasman Coast Track? Check out our Abel Tasman Coast Track | Maps & Routes article here.

Map of the Abel Tasman Coast Track

 

How difficult is the Coast Track?

The Abel Tasman Coast Walk is considered by many to be the easiest of New Zealand’s Great Walks. The trail is very well maintained and you’ll rarely encounter a tough section. Most trampers opt to walk in just running shoes given the ease of the trail and the likelihood of getting your feet wet. However, walkers should still be well prepared as any multi-day trek is a serious undertaking.

As you can see on the elevation profile below, there isn’t a significant amount of elevation encountered on the walk until the final day. Even so, the hike will be manageable for the vast majority of walkers.

Elevation profile of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Elevation profile of the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

 

Many of the challenges of walking in Abel Tasman National Park are related to heat, bugs, and the highly variable tides. Be sure to bring plenty of water, a good hat, insect repellent, and be aware of tidal crossing. Keeping these tips in mind, most reasonably fit hikers should have no problem completing the Abel Tasman Coast Track. 

If you want to have information about services, accommodation, stages, and navigation saved to your device, make sure to download the Hiiker App. This great tool can be used without data or cell service and is a valuable resource on the trail.

 

A section of trail on the Coast Track.

You can expect well maintained trails and easy walking on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track Reservations

Advance reservations are required for all of the huts and campsites along the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Given the popularity of the walk, it is recommended that you book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. You can book your huts/campsites directly through the Department of Conservation at the link below:

Book Accommodation for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

It is important to think through a few key details prior to making your booking, all of which we cover in this post:

  • How many days will you take to walk the Coast Track?
  • How do you plan to get back to Marahau from the end of your walk?

If possible, it is good to have some flexibility in the number of days you’ll spend on the track and/or the day you plan to start. You may discover that a specific hut or campsite is fully booked for your ideal day, in which case you may need to get creative to plan your walk. Camping alleviates some of this issue as there are 19 campsites along the route compared with only four huts.

Advance reservations are required for all huts and campsites along the Coast Track.

 

When to hike the Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track can be walked year round. This part of New Zealand is renowned for its abundant sunshine and mild climate, making the Coast Track the perfect adventure for any time of year. A breakdown by season is below:

Summer (December, January, February):

During New Zealand’s summer months the track will be at its most crowded. However, in exchange for these crowds you’ll get reliably sunny weather, plenty of transportation options, and might even be able to brave the chilly waters for longer than a few minutes!

Sandy beach on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Summer brings near perfect weather to the region.

 

Fall (March, April, May):

Many consider fall to be the best time to walk the Abel Tasman Coast Track. The crowds start to thin out, but you’re still likely to be treated to warm and sunny weather. If you have your pick, this is the time to walk!

Fall may be the best time to walk the Coast Track.

 

Winter (June, July, August):

Come the winter months you’ll be more likely to encounter cooler temperatures and rain along the walk. However, accommodation should be easy to reserve and you can expect to have many sections of trail to yourself!

Abel Tasman National Park

Winter brings cooler temperatures and more rain to Abel Tasman National Park, but also plenty of solitude along the Coast Track.

 

Spring (September, October, November):

As winter turns to spring the weather in Abel Tasman National Park starts to improve. While you can expect to see a few more rain showers, this is generally a great time to walk the Coast Track before the summer crowds arrive.

Cloudy day in Abel Tasman National Park

 

Tides on the Coast Track

Given the fact that the Coast Track closely follows the shoreline, walkers will need to be aware of tides, especially in the two sections described below:

Awaroa Inlet
You’ll encounter the Awaroa Inlet immediately after the Awaroa Hut, on what will likely be your third or fourth day of the walk. The tides here are dramatic, varying by up to 6 meters depending on the time of day and season. For this reason, you are only able to cross the Awaroa Inlet between 1.5 hours before and 2 hours after low tide. This is important to plan for as the low tide time will dictate how far you are able to walk that day. The Department of Conservation publishes low tide times here. 

High tide at the Awaroa Inlet on the Coast Track

High tide at the Awaroa Inlet.

 

Low tide at the Awaroa Inlet

Low tide at the Awaroa Inlet – much easier to cross!

 

Torrent Bay
Torrent Bay is just past the Anchorage Hut and most walkers will need to cross here at the start of their second day. Similar to the Awaroa Inlet above, Torrent Bay can only be crossed within two hours of low-tide. Fortunately, there is a high-tide track that circumnavigates the bay and allows walkers to cross at anytime. See the map below for more detail. Our best advice is to plan on taking the high-tide track around Torrent Bay, but you just may get lucky and be able to cross at low-tide.

Torrent Bay tide

There is a high-tide and low-tide option for crossing Torrent Bay on the Coast Track.

 

Bugs & Pests

There are few things that could spoil the splendor of your surroundings while walking the Coast Track in Abel Tasman National Park. The few that you should be prepared for are sandflies and wasps. You’ll encounter sandflies throughout New Zealand and those who have been in the country for more than a few days will likely be all too familiar with them. These tiny, biting insects swarm you covering any exposed skin with itchy bites! It’s not all doom and gloom though as sandflies are mostly only around during the dawn and dusk hours. Be sure to bring some insect repellent for when they do come out though!

The other nuisance to be aware of in the Abel Tasman region is the prevalence of wasps. Their nests are common throughout the park, though you are likely to go your entire trek without encountering any. Still, if you are highly allergic be sure you have any needed allergy medication. For other trampers, it is best to pack some Benadryl or other antihistamine just in case of a sting. The Department of Conservation undertook a control program in 2015 to reduce their prevalence in Abel Tasman National Park.

Beach in Abel Tasman

The beautiful beaches of Abel Tasman can harbor some unwanted pests!

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track: Logistics

The Coast Track is remarkably well connected and easy to access. However, there are a few key pieces of information outlined in the following sections that you should keep in mind when planning your trek.

Getting to and from the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Most walker’s will access the Coast Track from the town of Nelson, which sits on the other side of the Tasman Bay from Marahau and Abel Tasman National Park. There is frequent bus service connecting Nelson to Marahau (the traditional starting point for the Coast Track) with most services also stopping in Motueka en route. Some popular service providers include:

  • ScenicNZ: Offers a daily bus connection between Nelson and Marahau via Motueka.
  • Trek Express: This tramper focused provider offers transport to/from the Coast Track and Nelson.

Depending on your chosen itinerary you’re likely to finish your walk in either Wainui or Totaranui. While Wainui is the official end point of the Coast Track, transportation options are limited. As a result, it is more common for trampers to finish their walk by taking looping back to Totaranui via the Gibbs Hill Track. Your best options for getting back to Marahau from each potential finishing points are below:

Getting from Wainui to Marahau
Trek Express operates the most reliable service between the end of the Coast Track in Wainui and Marahau. Expect on the journey taking approximately 1.5 hours. In addition, Golden Bay Coachlines operates a bus service between Wainui and Nelson, with a stop at the car park in Marahau.

Getting from Totaranui to Marahau
Most trekkers opt to finish their walk in Totaranui where you’ll have many more transport options back to the start of the track available. One of the big appeals of finishing here is that you’ll be taking a water taxi back to the Marahau, a fantastic way to cap off your time in Abel Tasman National Park! Your best bets for water taxis from Totaranui to Marahau are below:

  • Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi: A reliable and popular operator, they offer a multitude of transport options.
  • Marahau Water Taxis: This service provides efficient transportation back to Marahau and also has options to connect you back to Nelson via bus.

Water taxis in Bark Bay

Water taxis are plentiful along the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Don’t forget to download the Hiiker app to get maps and tons of helpful information right at your fingertips!

Where to leave your car when walking the Coast Track

If you’ve driven your own car or campervan to Abel Tasman you’ll want to know where to park it. Luckily, the Department of Conservation provides free overnight parking at three locations along the Coast Track: Marahau, Totaranui, and Wainui. The car parks are not covered, but at least give you an easy place to leave your vehicle. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to camp overnight at any of the three car parks!

Transportation on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

Many walkers on the Coast Track will opt to only walk a specific section of the Coast Track (more on that below!) and may need transport from other points along the route. If this is the case you find yourself in, your best bet will almost certainly be to take a water taxi back to Marahau. All of the water taxi providers listed above will be happy to accommodate and will pick you up from any of the following access points:

  • Apple Tree Bay
  • Anchorage
  • Medlands Bay
  • Bark Bay
  • Tonga Quarry
  • Onetahuti
  • Awaroa
  • Totaranui

It is important to note that no motorized boat traffic is allowed past Totaranui in Abel Tasman National Park. This is to maintain the natural state of the northern section of the park, so you’ll want to be sure you take that into account when planning your walk.

Kayakers in Abel Tasman National Park

There is no motorized traffic allowed past Totaranui in Abel Tasman National Park.

 

Accommodation on the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Coast Walk is well served by a network of Department of Conservation huts and campsites. These huts and campsites make it easy for walkers to plan a variety of itineraries and provide excellent accommodation options. In addition to the Department of Conservation options there are also a few private accommodation options along the track that give the weary walker options other than pitching their tent or settling for a noisy bunk room. Keep reading below to see what sleeping quarters await you on the Coast Track.

Department of Conservation Huts & Campsites

The Department of Conservation provides a network of 19 campsites and 4 huts along the Coast Track. The four huts along the walk are evenly spaced to make for an easy five-day itinerary for those who don’t want to sleep in their tent. These huts are located at Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa Bay, and Whariwharangi. Each of the huts also has a campsite adjacent to it, so campers can also enjoy the simplicity of stopping at these locations.

In addition to the four campsites located next to the DoC huts along the Coast Track there are 15 other sites scattered along the Coast Track. Many of these won’t make sense for trampers given their location, but several provide a great alternative for those who prefer a quieter campsite. We describe your best options in the itinerary section below.

Abel Tasman Coast Track Huts
As mentioned above, the DoC provides huts at Anchorage, Bark Bary, Awaroa Bay, and Whariwharangi. All of these huts are quite basic and provide a common room, sleeping quarters with basic mattresses, potable water, and bathrooms. You’ll need to bring cooking supplies and a camp stove as none of the huts feature cooking facilities, a sleeping bag, and a headlamp as many of the huts do not have lighting.

The huts must all be reserved in advance and have varying rates depending on the time of year and whether or not you are a Kiwi or international tourist.

You can book your Abel Tasman Coast Track Huts here. 

Abel Tasman Coast Track Campsites
There is a network of 19 DoC campsites along the Coast Track. All of the campsites along the route provide toilets and potable water, while some of the larger ones provide a cooking shelter, picnic tables, and seating areas. It is important to note that if camping outside one of the four huts along the route you are not allowed to use the hut facilities. You’ll need to bring all of your own camping equipment, including a stove and cooking supplies, as none of the campsites are equipped with stoves.

You also are not allowed to use a hammock at any of the campsites in Abel Tasman National Park, so be sure you’ve packed your tent, bivvy, or other sleep system.

As with the huts along the route you are required to reserve your all of your campsites along the Coast Track in advance. The fee for these campsites varies depending on the time of year and depending on if you are a local New Zealander or not.

You can book your Abel Tasman Coast Track Campsites here. 

 

Tent at Anapai Bay Campsite.

Camping mere steps from the beach at Anapai Bay along the Coast Track.

 

Private Accommodation

In addition to the Department of Conservation huts and campsites along the route there are also a handful of private accommodation providers along the Coast Track. If you’re looking for something unique (see Aquapackers), a little more luxurious (check out the Awaroa Lodge), or something with a bed and breakfast feel (the Meadowbank Homestead) the following options will surely meet your needs!

Aquapackers
The Aquapackers Hostel is a truly unique accommodation in Abel Tasman National Park. This floating hostel is anchored in Anchorage Bay has dorm beds as well as private cabins. Your room rate includes dinner, breakfast, and bedding for your stay. The vibe is typically a younger crowd, although they do try to keep noise to a minimum.

Torrent Bay Lodge
The Torrent Bay Lodge offers luxurious digs just past Anchorage along the Coast Track. Unfortunately for trampers, they require a minimum two-night stay during peak season. Alternatively you can book a package Coast Walk experience that will have you staying at their other lodge along the route.

Awaroa Lodge
The Awaroa Lodge is located just up the trail from the main DoC hut and campsite at the Awaroa Inlet. This is the most luxurious option along the Coast Track and makes the perfect place to treat yourself to a night of luxury along the Coast Track.

Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa
Similar to the Torrent Bay Lodge, the Meadowbank Homestead is geared toward those in search of a bit more luxury. During high season you’ll have to book a package stay that includes a night at the Torrent Bay Lodge.

 

Stage-by-stage Itinerary for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

We recommend hiking the Coast Track over 3 – 5 days depending on your hiking ability, pace preferences, and weather conditions. The classic itinerary described below takes five days to complete and will be the best option for the majority of hikers.

Looking for an easy way to access Abel Tasman Coast Track maps and accommodation information on your phone? Check out the Hiiker app! It’s a valuable tool to have with you on the trail. 

Stage 1: Marahau to Anchorage

Distance & Elevation: 11.7 km // +737 m, -728 m
Where to stay: 
Anchorage Hut & Campsite // Te Pukatea Campsite
Description:
The Abel Tasman Coast Track begins from the car park outside of Marahau and crosses a tidal estuary via a well-built wooden walkway. From here the track climbs gently and begins to open up to stunning views of the sea beyond. There are frequent side tracks down to the water if you fancy a dip at this early stage.

At approximately 7 km into the walk the track will turn inland and climb along the hillside. Near the top of the hill you’ll be presented with diverging trails. The trail on the right will lead you down to the Anchorage Hut and Campsite while the trail on the left continues on the Coast Track for those who are walking a bit further on their first day.

The Anchorage Hut can accommodate up to 34 people and has a large campsite adjacent. For those who are camping and would like a bit quieter accommodation we recommend continuing on a bit further past Anchorage to the Te Pukatea campsite.

Stage 1 of the Coast Track from Marahau to Anchorage

Stage One of the Coast Track from Marahau to Anchorage.

 

Tidal estuary near Marahau

The Coast Track starts by crossing a tidal estuary just outside of Marahau.

 

Stage 2: Anchorage to Bark Bay

Distance & Elevation: 11.2 km // +657 m, -660 m
Where to stay:
Bark Bay Hut & Campsite
Description:

From Anchorage Bay you’ll quickly reach Torrent Bay where you’ll have two options. The first option is to take the high-tide route which circumnavigates the bay and is passable at all times. A short detour off the high-tide route is Cleopatra’s Pool, a perfect swimming hole on a hot day!

The second option is to take the low-tide alternate (shown on the map below), which crosses directly across Torrent Bay. This route is only passable within 2 hours before and after low-tide, so it is best to plan on taking the high-tide route.

Once past Torrent Bay the track turns inland and gently climbs the coastal hillside. You’ll soon reach the Falls River and cross a long swing bridge over the river. Swing bridges are a staple of New Zealand tramping, so be sure to take in the view! From the swing bridge the trail returns to the coast and winds its way to the Bark Bay Hut & Campsite. The campsite at Bark Bay is located to the right, just off the main trail.

Stage Two - Anchorage to Bark Bay

Stage Two of the Coast Track from Anchorage to Bark Bay.

 

The Falls River Swing Bridge

Crossing the Falls River Swing Bridge on the way to Bark Bay.

 

Stage 3: Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay

Distance & Elevation: 12.2 km // +634 m, -635 m
Where to stay:
Awaroa Hut & Campsite // Awaroa Lodge
Description:

From Bark Bay you’ll begin your walk to Awaroa Bay by either crossing the tidal estuary at low-tide, or taking the high-tide track around the bay. The high-tide track only adds 10 minutes to your walk, so no need to plan in advance. From here the Coast Track once again turns inland as you make your way to the former Tonga Quarry. Continuing along the coast you’ll reach Onetahuti Beach, which the Coast Track walks along for nearly 1 km!

From the end of the beach you’ll climb through the bush before descending to Awaroa Bay. Here you’ll find the Department of Conservation run Awaroa Bay Hut & Campsite as well as the adjacent Awaroa Lodge. The Lodge is a great place to spend the night if you’re in search of a bit more luxury that what the DoC huts have on offer!

Remember that you cannot cross the Awaroa Inlet outside of 1.5 hours before and 2 hours after low-tide. If you plan to walk further on this day you need to consult the tide schedules to be sure it will be possible.

Stage 3 on the Coast Track from Bark Bay to Awaroa.

Stage 3 on the Coast Track from Bark Bay to Awaroa.

 

Boat on the Awaroa Inlet

You’ll have to wait until low-tide to cross the Awaroa Inlet.

 

Stage 4: Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi

Distance & Elevation: 17.3 km // +805 m, -801 m
Where to stay:
Whariwharangi Hut & Campsite // Anapai Beach Campsite
Description:

After crossing the Awaroa Inlet to begin Stage 4 of the Abel Tasman Coast Track the route cuts across a forested headland before heading back to the coast. The trail continues on hugging the shoreline along Goat Bay before a short, but steep climb brings you to a viewpoint with spectacular views of Totaranui Beach. Heading down from the lookout you’ll eventually reach Totaranui with its huge campsite and busy dock. Many walkers opt to finish at this point and grab a water taxi back to Marahau. If you want to spend the night at Totaranui keep in mind that there is no hut here, so you’ll need to camp.

For those continuing on you’ll follow the road through the Totaranui complex before turning right, walking past a parking area, and then picking up the main trail again as it heads into the bush. You’ll climb up and over another headland before arriving at the Anapai Beach Campsite. This is a great option for those looking to camp near Totaranui, but prefer a quieter site. Located on a lovely beach, this is a great place to spend the night!

From Anapai Beach the track climbs steadily before descending down to Mutton Cove. From here the main Coast Track heads inland, although we highly recommend taking the alternative route to Separation Point, with its beautiful views of the sea beyond. The main Coast Track and Separation Point track meet again at a high point and then descend to the Whariwharangi Hut & Campsite. This is the last hut along the Coast Track and a lovely place to spend you last evening.

Stage 4 on the Coast Track from Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi.

Stage 4 on the Coast Track from Awaroa Bay to Whariwharangi.

 

View of Totaranui Beach.

Taking in views of Totaranui Beach on the Coast Track.

 

Stage 5: Whariwharangi to Totaranui (via Gibbs Hill Track)

Distance & Elevation: 9.8 km // +677 m, -679 m
Where to stay:
Totaranui or onward travel accommodation
Description:

The final stage of the Abel Tasman Coast Track presents walkers with two options. The first is to finish the walk on the traditional route by descending to the carpark at Wainui, just over 5 km from the Whariwharangi Hut. The problem with this option is that there is not frequent transportation from the end of the walk in Wainui, with only a few bus operators serving the car park and official end of the Coast Track. The second option, and what we recommend, is to take the Gibbs Hill Track back to Totaranui. This makes for a 10km walk from Whariwharangi, but you’ll have many more transportation options back to Marahau and Nelson from Totaranui. Plus, you’ll get to see a bit more of the mountainous interior of Abel Tasman National Park.

Regardless of your choice, you’ll begin by leaving the hut or campsite at Whariwharangi and climbing steadily up to the junction with the Gibbs Hill Track. For those heading to Wainui, it’s a short 3 km descent to the car park and finish of the Coast Track. For those continuing on to Totaranui, you’ll join the Gibbs Hill track as it ascends towards a high point at, you guessed it, Gibbs Hill. From here the track begins its descent to Totaranui and you’ll soon come to a junction where you’ll take a left. From this point it is approximately 4.5 km back to Totaranui.

Regardless of which option you choose you can celebrate in the fact that you’ve just completed the Abel Tasman Coast Walk! Get your transportation out of Abel Tasman sorted out and be sure to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with completed one of New Zealand’s Great Walks!

Stage 5 of the Coast Track from Whariwharangi to Totaranui or Wainui.

Stage 5 of the Coast Track from Whariwharangi to Totaranui or Wainui.

 

Taking the Gibbs Hill Track back to Totaranui will let you see a different side of Abel Tasman National Park.

 

Alternative Itineraries for the Coast Track

The five day itinerary described above can be broken into almost countless alternative itineraries for walking the Coast Track. If you’ve only got time for a few days, we suggest the following itineraries:

3-day Abel Tasman Coast Track
For those with only three days to spare in Abel Tasman we recommend starting with a big first day to from Marahau to Bark Bay. From Bark Bay you’ll head to Awaroa, where you’re likely to need to spend the night in order to time the tidal crossing correctly. On your final day, head along the coast to Totaranui to catch a water taxi back to the start.

  • Stage 1: Marahau to Bark Bay: 23 km
  • Stage 2: Bark Bay to Awaroa Bay: 12 km
  • Stage 3: Awaroa to Totaranui: 6.5 km

1-day Abel Tasman Coast Track
Even with a single day in Abel Tasman you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best parts of the walk. Our recommendation is to take a water taxi to Totaranui and then complete the northern portion of the walk by first hiking to Whariwharangi and then taking the Gibbs Hill Track back to Totaranui. This is the least crowded section of the trail and also has some of the most incredible views, including those from Separation Point.

Abel Tasman Coast Track: What to Pack

Packing for the Coast Track is a balancing act between ensuring you have everything you need while not over packing. In general, you should be able to get by with a 30L – 60L backpack and the following essentials:

Also, you won’t be able to buy any food along the trail. Thus, you’ll need to be sure you’ve packed all you’ll need for the entire walk. In general, we recommend backpacking staples such as ramen, freeze-dried backpacker meals, trail mix, and instant oatmeal. Be sure and think through each day of your walk when meal planning as you want to ensure you’ve brought enough food!

Read More: The Complete Packing List for the Abel Tasman Coast Track

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track packing list

Campers will need to bring a bit more on the Coast Track.

 

Baggage Transfer on the Coast Track

Taken all of our packing advice above, but still have too much gear? No problem! All of the main water taxi operators will be more than happy to shuttle your packs from beach to beach along the Coast Track. However, remember that there are no water taxis allowed past Totaranui, so you’ll have to carry your own pack past there!

We recommend the following companies for baggage transfer on the Coast Track:

 

What’s Next?

If you’ve read our Complete Guide to the Abel Tasman Coast Track above, you’re well on your way to having an incredible experience on the hike. However, you still have lots of preparation before you’re truly ready! Be sure to read our entire series on the Coast Track to learn everything you’ll need to know to prepare for your trip!

Beach in Abel Tasman, New Zealand

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The Complete Guide to Mt. of the Holy Cross

Mt. of the Holy Cross is one of Colorado’s most iconic mountains. Situated deep within the Sawatch mountain range it is renowned for its northeast face, which features two deep…

Mt. of the Holy Cross is one of Colorado’s most iconic mountains. Situated deep within the Sawatch mountain range it is renowned for its northeast face, which features two deep couloirs form a near-perfect cross when filled with snow. The peak barely meets fourteener status, with a summit elevation of 14,005′ above sea level. Located just outside the town of Minturn, Colorado and with multiple routes carrying Class 2 difficult rating according to 14ers.com, the mountain makes for a popular 14er to bag. Keep reading to learn everything you’ll need to know to have a great adventure climbing Mount of the Holy Cross!

In this Post

Mt. of the Holy Cross Elevation

The summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross sits at 14,005 feet above sea level. As with many mountains, you’ll see a variety of elevations given depending on the source. We chose to utilize the elevation shown on the USFS map below, which gives the official elevation as 14,005′. Regardless, you can count on the air being thin at the top!

The summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross sits at 14,005′. Map courtesy of USFS.

 

The summit is surrounded by several prominent 13,000′ peaks, including Notch Mountain located to the northeast.

 

Mt. of the Holy Cross trailheads

Mt. of the Holy Cross is accessed via the Half Moon Trailhead, which sits at the end of Tigiwon Road (sometimes spelled “Tigwon” and also known as Forest Service Road 707). For those hiking Mt. of the Holy Cross via the standard North Ridge Route you’ll take the Half Moon Trail which will be on your right-hand side when looking at the trailhead. Hikers attempting the Halo Ridge Route should take the Fall Creek Trail which leads to Notch Mountain and/or Lake Constantine in the adjacent drainage. Get directions to the trailhead below:

To reach the Half Moon Trailhead you’ll take I-70 to exit 171 towards Minturn. From the highway exit, it is a five-mile drive past the town of Minturn to Tigiwon Road, which you’ll take to reach the trailhead.

From Highway 24 you’ll want to keep an eye out for Tigiwon Road, which leads to the trailhead.

 

It is an approximate 8.3-mile drive up Tigiwon Road to the Half Moon Trailhead. The dirt road is rough in some places but can be driven in a passenger car with care. If possible, we recommend a 4WD, AWD, or vehicle with higher clearance to ensure you don’t have any issues reaching the trailhead.

Keep in mind that Tigiwon Road is closed to motor vehicles annually from May 1st – June 21st. This generally shouldn’t impact those looking to hike Mt. of the Holy Cross, as the trail is unlikely to be free from snow until later in the summer anyways.

At the end of Tigiwon Road there is a small parking area that serves the trailhead. On busy summer weekends, you can expect this parking area to be at capacity given the popularity of the trail. However, there is abundant overflow parking available along Tigiwon Road leading up to the trailhead. If you do have to park along the road be sure to leave enough space for other cars to pass!

If the Half Moon trailhead parking lot is full, there is overflow parking available along Tigiwon Road.

 

Hiking Mt. of the Holy Cross

There are several different routes all leading to the summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross. For most hikers, your best bet is to take the North Ridge Route described below. This is the standard route up Mt. of the Holy Cross and by far the most popular. For those looking for alternative routes (with significantly more difficulty), you can also complete the Halo Ridge Route with its spectacular views of the cross couloir. 

Map of different routes to hike Mt. of the Holy Cross

The North Ridge Route and Halo Ridge Route are the most popular options for hiking Mt. of the Holy Cross. Map courtesy of USFS.

 

The North Ridge Route and the Halo Ridge Route up Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

Mt. of the Holy Cross North Ridge Route

Distance: 10.46 miles (round-trip)
Elevation Gain/Loss:
+ 5,616 feet / -5,616 feet
Starting point:
Half Moon Trailhead

The North Ridge Route up Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

The North Ridge Route is the standard and most popular route up Mt. of the Holy Cross. The route has a Class 2 difficulty according to 14ers.com, and most hikers will find the distance and elevation gain make this a very challenging hike. The route crosses Half Moon Pass (elevation 11,650′) within the first three miles before descending down again to East Cross Creek, at which point the ascent to the top of Mt. of the Holy Cross begins. This results in a staggering total elevation gain of over 5,600 feet. For this reason it is popular to split the climb into two days and spend a night camping at East Cross Creek.

Keep in mind that you won’t get any views of the Cross Couloir on the North Ridge Route. If that is important to you we recommend completing the Halo Ridge Route described below, or hiking adjacent Notch Mountain.

Mount of the Holy Cross from Half Moon Pass

Mount of the Holy Cross from Half Moon Pass.

 

Description:

From the Half Moon Trailhead, you’ll begin with a gentle ascent on the Half Moon Trail through pine forest towards the top of Half Moon Pass. The top of the pass is at treeline, so you’ll enjoy some beautiful views of the Gore Range behind you. As you begin the descent, Mt. of the Holy Cross will dominate the horizon – you’ll struggle to believe you’re climbing all the way to the top!

Views of the Gore Range from Half Moon Pass.

Views of the Gore Range from Half Moon Pass.

 

Approximately 3 miles into the hike, you’ll reach East Cross Creek where you’ll set up camp if you’re splitting the hike into two days. From here, the climb to the top of Mt. of the Holy Cross begins in earnest. After a steady ascent through the trees, you’ll eventually reach treeline and the beginning of Mt. of the Holy Cross’ north ridge. The terrain from here on out becomes much more rugged, so be sure to tread carefully. At this point, the trail also disappears and you’ll need to closely follow the large cairns as you make your way up. It is not especially difficult to stay on course, but be sure to exercise caution as you are walking very near to the ridgeline.

Sunrise on the North Ridge Route – Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

As you reach the end of the ridge, the ‘trail’ will turn to the southeast as you make your final approach to the summit. The area is covered in large talus so you’ll find the large wooden posts that have been erected to be helpful for navigation. The last 500 feet or so are difficult hiking, but the route to the summit should be straightforward.

Finish your last bit of climbing and you’ll be standing on the summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross!

Enjoy expansive views from the summit.

 

Mt. of the Holy Cross Halo Ridge Route

Distance: 15.2 miles (roundtrip, out-and-back) // 12.83 miles (descending via the North Ridge route)
Elevation Gain/Loss:
+ 4,658 feet / -4,658 feet (round-trip retracing the route)
Starting point:
Half Moon Trailhead

The Halo Ridge route to the top of Mt. of the Holy Cross adds another layer of difficulty to summitting this beautiful mountain. For this effort, hikers will be rewarded with stunning views of the Cross Couloir and the opportunity to visit the Notch Mountain Shelter, a truly beautiful structure. As with the North Ridge Route, this is a serious undertaking with between 13 – 15 miles of hiking depending on your chosen descent. It is advisable to start very early.

The Halo Ridge Route up Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

Description:

The Halo Ridge Route begins at the Half Moon Trailhead where you’ll begin your hike along the Fall Creek Trail. It is important to note that this is not the same trail as those hiking via the standard North Ridge Route will take. The trail climbs gently through forest for the first 2.25 miles before coming to the junction with the Notch Mountain Shelter Trail.

From here, you’ll begin the ascent to the Notch Mountain Shelter via a steep, but well-maintained trail. The shelter sits at an elevation of 13,084 feet and was built in 1933 as a place to stay for those on a pilgrimage to see the famous Mt. of the Holy Cross. Unfortunately, you are no longer allowed to camp in the shelter. You can view the Forest Service information on the shelter here.

Take a moment at this point to soak in the incredible views of the Cross Couloir!

From the shelter, you’ll trace your way along the ridgeline towards the summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross. Take great care on this section as the route is very exposed. You’ll first climb to Point 13,248, which will allow you to claim to have summited a 13er and a 14er all in the same day! From here you’ll set your sights on another 13er, Point 13,373, before reaching a flatter portion of the ridgeline.

Continuing on, you’ll ascend to the summit of the Holy Cross Ridge at 13,830 feet above sea level. From here, you’ll descend slightly before tackling the final climb to the summit of Mt. of the Holy Cross!

We highly recommend reading the route description on 14ers.com for a more in-depth discussion on the Halo Ridge Route.

 

Mt. of the Holy Cross Camping

There are several options available for those looking to camp before, during, and after their hike of Mt. of the Holy Cross, all of which are described below. Be sure to check in with the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District prior to camping to check current regulations.

Camping near Mt of the Holy Cross

Camping options are abundant near Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

Tigiwon Road Camping

The first option for camping near Mt. of the Holy Cross is to pitch your tent at one of the many dispersed campsites available along Tigiwon Road. These campsites are perfect for those who may arrive later in the evening and want to set up a base camp before setting out the next day. The campsites start a few miles along the road (be sure you are in the National Forest and not on private property) and continue most of the way up to the trailhead. The final 0.5 miles of Tigiwon Road does not allow camping, so be sure you’ve found a site before getting to the trailhead.

Campsite along Tigiwon Road.

Make sure you camp only at designated spots with a fire ring along Tigiwon Road.

 

You should only camp at designated campsites along the road, which will be indicated by the presence of a fire ring. Be sure and check local regulations before having a campfire, as this area of the state is often under fire restrictions. Also, keep in mind that there are no water sources available at the campsites along Tigiwon Road. It is very important to bring enough water not only for your camping needs, but also enough for your hike of Mt of the Holy Cross.

These campgrounds receive quite a bit of use, so we can’t stress enough how important it is to practice Leave No Trace principles when camping along Tigiwon Road. Be sure and leave your site in better shape than you found it!

 

Halfmoon Campground

The Halfmoon Campground is located adjacent to the trailhead at the top of Tigiwon Road. This is a formal campground operated by the Forest Service and features seven campsites, vault toilets, campfire rings with grates, and tables. The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get there early if you’re looking to snag a site. The fee is $15/night.

The campground is about as convenient as you can get for those who are looking to car camp the night before climbing Mt. of the Holy Cross, as you’ll wake up mere steps from the trailhead.

As with the campsites along Tigiwon Road, there is no drinking water available at the Halfmoon Campground, so be sure to bring all you’ll need.

Map of Halfmoon Campground near Mt. of the Holy Cross

Halfmoon Campground provides great access to Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

East Cross Creek Camping

The backcountry campsites at East Cross Creek are utilized by those who are splitting their hike into two days. As described above, this allows hikers to avoid having to cross Half Moon Pass twice in a single day and spread out the elevation gain of the trek. We recommend anyone concerned about the length or difficulty of the North Ridge Route to overnight at East Cross Creek in order to make the hike more manageable.

The East Cross Creek campsites are located approximately 3 miles into the hike up Mt. of the Holy Cross.

 

East Cross Creek is reached by hiking approximately 3 miles in from the Half Moon trailhead and requires crossing Half Moon Pass. The area has 10 designated campsites that are all well-marked. If a campsite marker has a stone placed on top of it, it means the campsite is occupied. It is very likely that all 10 sites will be occupied on any given night. If this is the case, it is best to politely ask if you can share a site with one of the groups already there. Yes, this may mean getting cozy with a few fellow hikers, but it is a much better option than camping outside of the designated area. Given the popularity of Mt. of the Holy Cross it is important to minimize your impact as much as possible at East Cross Creek. 

Water can be taken from the creek, though do be sure to filter it before drinking. Also, there are no campfires allowed at any time at the campsites, so be sure to pack in stove fuel if you need it.

Map of campsites at East Cross Creek

There are 10 designated campsites at East Cross Creek.

 

Mt. of the Holy Cross Weather

As with all fourteeners, it is paramount to keep an eye on the weather when attempting to climb Mt. of the Holy Cross. Given the altitude, exposed nature of the hike, and significant length, we highly recommend starting very early in the morning to give yourself the best chance of avoiding afternoon thunderstorms.

mountain storm

Be prepared for storms to roll in at any time.

 

You can use the link here to get a sense of the weather forecast for Mt. of the Holy Cross. However, conditions can change at any time, so any forecast for a 14,000′ peak should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also advisable to check in with the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District to get current conditions.

Wrap-up & Resources

That’s it! We hope you found the information in this post useful for planning your Mt. of the Holy Cross adventure! As always, be sure to check out some of the helpful resources below for planning your hike:

Mount of the Holy Cross from Half Moon Pass

 

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The Complete Packing List for the Coast to Coast Walk

What does one bring for a self-powered journey across an entire country? One of the absolute best parts of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk is the ever-changing landscapes it traverses….

What does one bring for a self-powered journey across an entire country? One of the absolute best parts of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk is the ever-changing landscapes it traverses. That type of variety can make packing a little tricky, though. What you might need during a rainstorm in the Lakes District is quite different from what you’ll require on a sunny day in the Yorkshire Dales.

However, before you go packing a rucksack bigger than you are, remember the golden rule of backpacking: keep it as light as possible! Carrying minimal weight is one of the best things you can do to ensure you enjoy your trip to the fullest.

So how does one strike that elusive balance between having all of the necessities without feeling like they have a baby elephant on their back? Read on for our best advice and detailed kit lists to learn everything you need (and everything you don’t) to have your best possible Coast to Coast Walk!

In this post:

coast to coast packing basics
One of the many incredible landscapes you’ll encounter on your C2C Walk.

Everything you need to to plan your Coast to Coast Walk – all in one place.

Whether you prefer bunkhouses or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Coast to Coast Walk adventure!

LEARN MORE

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Coast to Coast adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for anyone walking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete and adaptable 12-day, 14-day, and 17-day Coast to Coast itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire walk & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the trail
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW

Packing Basics for the Coast to Coast Walk

There are so many variables when it comes to packing for the Coast to Coast Walk, such as accommodation type, hiking style, trip length, baggage transfers, time of year, and many more. Every hiker will have a unique kit to best serve their individual needs. Even though you are a special, one-of-a-kind snowflake, there is some universal gear wisdom that applies to all Coast to Coast Walkers.

How Much Should My Pack Weigh?

This isn’t easy to answer, since there are a ton of factors that influence how much is too much for any individual hiker. Some things to think about…

  • How fast are you hoping to hike? Generally speaking, lighter=faster
  • Have you completed a multi-day through hike with this specific backpack and this amount of weight before? 
  • Are you injury-prone or do you have any chronic knee, hip, or back issues? 

As a very general rule, campers should keep their pack weight below 13kg, including food and water. Those staying indoors should carry no more than 9kg. If having your luggage transferred along the trail, most transfer services will limit you to 20kg, and your daypack shouldn’t exceed 4kg. If you are backpacking for the first time or have a chronic injury, the weight of your pack should be significantly less than these guidelines.

Generally speaking, less is more. Here’s a few tips for lightening your load:

  1. You only need a couple of shirts. Same goes for underwear and socks. Bring quick-dry items that you can rinse out in the sink or shower.
  2. Plan out when/where you’ll restock food provisions and don’t carry more food than you need.
  3. Consider leaving your bulky camera equipment at home. Unless photography is your passion, most smartphones take great photos and save a ton of space and weight.
Backpacking backpack
The type of pack you’ll need for the Coast to Coast will depend on your individual itinerary.

Choosing a backpack for the Coast to Coast

Just like with footwear, a properly fitting backpack is crucial on the Coast to Coast walk. Also similar to your boots, your pack needs to be broken in for optimal comfort. We recommend carrying a weighted pack on your training walks to get used to the extra weight and ensure it fits well.

If you plan on staying in B&B’s along the route, you won’t need a very large rucksack. A 25-liter pack should be enough to hold a few clothing items, food, water, and toiletries.

Those staying in dorms and bunkhouses will most likely need to carry a sleeping bag and towel. A 30-40L pack will be more than enough space for everything you need.

If you plan on camping, you’ll need a larger pack to fit your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and cooking equipment in addition to your basic supplies. A 45-60L pack will be suitable for most campers.

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a pack cover to protect against rain! Many newer packs come with one built-in.

Coast to Coast Walk hiking boots
Footwear on the Coast to Coast Walk comes down to personal preference and fit, but always break in new boots ahead of time!

Footwear on the Coast to Coast

Taking care of your feet is of the utmost important on a long-distance walk like the C2C. Blisters, chafing, and other ailments can completely sabotage your experience, and the Coast to Coast’s wide range of underfoot conditions and wet environments can increase your risk of issues. The right shoes and socks can make all the difference.

Hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will all work for the Coast to Coast Walk, provided that they will work for your unique needs. The most important thing is that they’re adequately broken in and that you’ve tested them on multiple walks to ensure they are comfortable.

In terms of waterproofing, there are two opposing schools of thought about this. It is inevitable that your feet will get wet at multiple points along your walk, from driving rains, flooded paths, bogs, and so on. Many hikers prefer to use sturdy boots with a thick layer of waterproofing to keep the moisture out as much as possible. This is a good strategy, but keep in mind that when these heavier shoes get wet they can take a long time to dry. Other prefer to use breathable trail shoes. These will get wet right away, but they’ll also be dry again within a couple hours and allow your feet to get some air in the meantime. It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but it’s a good idea to try a few options out prior to setting off on your C2C journey.

Good socks are also a game-changer on the Coast to Coast. We love merino wool socks like these for their comfort, breathability, and anti-stink qualities.

If you’re blister-prone, consider trying toe sockssock liners, and/or body glide.

Rainy weather on Ennerdale Water in the Lakes District, Coast to Coast Walk
Moody weather is part of the Coast to Coast experience.

Good Waterproofs

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad rain gear! You will undoubtedly face plenty of wet days on your Coast to Coast, so good waterproofs are an important investment.

At the very minimum, make sure you have a lightweight rain jacketrain pants, and a pack cover. Some hikers pack their clothing and other items inside trash bags or waterproof packing cubes as an extra precaution. A hat can be nice to keep the rain out of your face. A waterproof carrying case for your map and/or phone isn’t a bad idea either. Finally, many walkers like to use gaiters for especially boggy or flooded areas.

Coast to Coast Walk personal gear

Personal Gear

Whether you’re camping or staying indoors, these items are must-haves for your Coast to Coast Walk packing list. While we’ve included some toiletries that are absolutely essential for this trek, we’ve left it up to you to determine your own list of additional self-care items (comb, toothbrush, prescription medication, etc). 

Most Valuable Personal Item: Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Dry Sack

The Coast to Coast Walk passes through some of the rainiest parts of England, so it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll do some wet walking at one point or another. Walking in a downpour? Kind of fun. Getting to your destination and not having dry clothes to change into? The worst. Even with a pack cover, sustained walking in drenching conditions can penetrate your bag. You’ll be glad you took the extra step to protect clothes, bedding, and electronics.


ItemOur recommended gear 
Multi-toolGerber Suspension Multi-PlierPerfect for cutting cheese and bread when you need some trail-side snacks!
First-aid kitAdventure Medical KitsA good backpacking first aid kit is essential. You hope to never have to use it, but will be glad you have it when you need it.
Hydration bladderPlatypus 3L Hydration BladderWay easier than a water bottle! We suggest carrying a 3 liter version.
Small day-packCotopaxi Luzon 18L DaypackOptional item that is great for walking around town.
Pack-coverSea to Summit Pack coverThis is a truly essential piece of gear given how hard it can rain on the Coast to Coast Walk!
Men's backpackOsprey Atmos 65LWhile backpacks are a very personal item, we find Osprey to make by far the most comfortable packs on the market.
Women's backpackOsprey Aura 65LOne of our favorite features of Osprey packs is the 'anti-gravity' mesh. So comfortable!
Trekking polesBlack Diamond Trail Trekking PolesThese can help take the load off your knees and they're great on steep sections.
Travel towelSea to Summit Drylite TowelGreat to have in hostels and campsite showers.
HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm HeadlampGreat headlamp with long battery life and adjustable brightness.
Dry bagsSea to Summit Ultra-Sil dry bagsKeeps your clothes and other items dry in a downpour!
Hiking gaitersOutdoor Research Rocky Mountain High GaitersOptional. These will help keep your boots dry when walking on muddy or boggy trails.
SunscreenWe recommend a waterproof sport version with SPF 30 or higher.
Bug sprayBen's Insect RepellentYou'll be glad you brought this when the midges come out.
Toilet paperAs any hiker will tell you, it's always better to be prepared! Plus, not all of the bathrooms you'll find along the C2C provide toilet paper.
Yorkshire Dales Coast to Coast Walk

Miscellaneous Gear

These odds and ends are the unsung heroes of any Coast to Coast Walk packing list. From getting your stinky shirt clean to keeping your phone charged, these items help your trek run smoothly. Make sure to use this list in addition to the other categories to complete your Coast to Coast kit. 

Most valuable miscellaneous gear: Anker Powercore 10000.

Chances are, you’re getting out on the trail to get a break from the constant demands of screens and technology and that’s wonderful. However, don’t underestimate the importance of having a charged cell phone on the Coast to Coast Walk. Your phone can be your navigational device, your camera, your guidebook, and your notepad all in one. Charging opportunities can be unreliable along the route, so a battery backup can be an absolute lifesaver. This one is dependable, relatively small, and can fully charge your phone 1.5-2 times between charges. Check it out here:


ItemOur recommended gear 
GuidebookTrailblazer
or
Ciccerone
We think Trailblazer's guide is better overall, but the Ciccerone book is available as an eBook, handy for lightweight packing.
Ear plugsMack's EarplugsEssential for getting a good night's sleep!
Sleeping maskAlaska Bear Sleeping MaskPerfect to block out light while sleeping in hostels or campgrounds on the Coast to Coast Walk.
Travel adapterAll-in-one Travel AdapterGreat for all of your travels.
Digital watchCasio digital watchWe recommend a simple digital watch to keep track of hiking times.
CameraSony a5100 mirrorless cameraIan loves his Sony mirrorless camera!
Battery backupAnker PowerCore 10000Great for charging electronics when you don't have access to an outlet.
Biodegradable soapSierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor SoapPerfect for doing the dishes or washing a few clothing items.
Plastic Bags- quart, gallon, and garbage bags.We used these constantly for everything from storing trail mix to keeping our sleeping bags dry. A must-have for backpacking.
Coast to Coast Walk women's packing list

Women’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for two weeks in various weather conditions and while doing some serious walking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your Coast to Coast Walk. Plus, if you’re anything like us, you have no idea how many pairs of socks to bring. This list is also a handy (and experience-backed)  guideline for quantities of items such as shirts and socks. 

Emily’s most valuable clothing item: Columbia Storm Surge Rain Pants 

English weather is temperamental. You’ll get to experience a wide range of elements (rain, sun, wind, etc), often all in one day! For the times when the weather turns, you’ll want to be able to quickly and effortlessly adapt your clothing to stay dry and comfortable. These Columbia rain pants are simple, effective, comfortable, and easy to get on and off over boots. Check them out here:


ItemOur recommended gear 
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Women's UnderwearVery packable and easy to wash on the go!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Micro Crew SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Sports BraBrooks Women's Rebound Racer Sports BraThis is the most versatile, comfortable, and high-quality sports bra that Emily has found on the market.
Long sleeve base layer (1)Smartwool Women's NTS Mid 250 CrewA great merino wool base layer for chilly mornings.
Short sleeve hiking shirt (3)Smartwool Women's Merino Short SleeveMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick drying, and odor resistant.
Leggings or hiking pantsprAna - Women's Halle Roll-upStylish, lightweight, and great to hike in.
Running shorts (1 pair)Lululemon Run Speed ShortsThese shorts are so comfortable, packable, and quick-drying, that Emily didn't even feel the need to buy hiking-specific shorts.
Down jacketPatagonia Down SweaterLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain jacketOutdoor Research Helium II JacketA high-quality all-weather jacket that packs up small.
Rain pantsColumbia Storm Surge pantsFor those heavy English downpours!
Hiking bootsKeen Targhee II Mid Hiking BootEmily has had these boots for five years and hundreds of muddy, snowy hikes, and they are still going strong!
SunglassesSuncloud Loveseat Polarized SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you're outside all day. And these are stylish too!
Basic black dressColumbia Women's PG Freezer III DressVery optional. For the nights we went out to dinner in town, it was nice to have one non-hiking outfit. This comfortable, versatile dress was easy to pack and worked great.
Underwire/standard braAfter a long day of hiking in a sweaty sports bra this can be a welcome relief to change into.
GlovesSmartwool Liner GlovesOptional. Perfect for cold evenings, but not necessary in the summertime.
HatHeadsweats Performance Trucker HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.
Sandals/Camp shoesChaco Z1Great to change into after a long day of walking!
BandanaI used this for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Coast to Coast Walk Men's Clothing
Another perk of hiking socks-really cool tan lines!

Men’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for two weeks in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials.

Ian’s most valuable clothing item: Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

The conditions on the Coast to Coast Walk are such that hikers are at a particularly high risk of getting blisters at some point on their walk. The wet environments, long mileage, and stony paths conspire to create the perfect environment for blisters to sabotage your walk. Fortunately, a good pair of socks can greatly reduce your chance of foot issues. This is one of those times where you really do get what you pay for. We love Darn Tough socks because they keep our feet dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. They have just the right amount of cushion without being too bulky in boots. Plus, the Merino wool keeps them smelling fresh for days. Check them out here:


ItemOur recommended gear 
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer BriefHighly recommended! You can bring 2-3 pairs and wash them easily in sinks or showers. A must!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Long sleeve base layer (1)Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 CrewVery versatile mid-weight base layer
Short sleeve hiking shirt (1)SmartSmartwool Men's Merino Short Sleeve shirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick drying, and odor resistant.
Hiking pants (1)Prana Brion pantsThese are great for hiking and also look great walking around town!
Hiking shorts (1)Prana Brion Hiking ShortsAwesome shorts that are great for hiking.
Down jacketPatagonia Down Sweater HoodySuper warm and super packable
Rain jacketOutdoor Research Men's Helium II JacketA good rain jacket is a must for the Coast to Coast Walk!
GlovesSmartwool Merino Wool Liner Gloves Optional. Perfect for cold evenings, but not essential in the summer.
Rain pantsMarmot Precip PantsFor those heavy English downpours!
HatHeadsweats Performance Trucker HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.
Sandals/Camp shoesChaco Z1 sandalsSuper comfortable to change into after walking in boots all day!
Hiking bootsSalomon Men's X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking BootVery comfortable and super waterproof!
SunglassesSuncloud Mayor Polarized SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you're in outdoors all day. And these are stylish too!
BandanaThis can be used for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Coast to Coast Walk Camping Gear

Camping Gear

Camping on the Coast to Coast Walk is definitely worth carrying the bigger backpack. We loved the flexibility and independence it gave us. Plus, campgrounds along the trail are plentiful, convenient, and generally quite comfortable. With the right gear and a manageable pack size, you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience conquering the Coast to Coast Walk with your own tent.

Most valuable camping gear: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit

Many people choose to camp along the Coast to Coast Walk because of the tremendous money they can save on their accommodation. The budgetary benefits go beyond your sleeping arrangements, though. Camping allows you to self-cater your meals, saving you from spending tons on overpriced pub food every day. This MSR Kit is super lightweight, easy to pack, and convenient for all of those al fresco dinners and trailside coffee breaks.


ItemOur recommended gear 
TentSierra Designs - Clip Flashlight 2
or
MSR Hubba Hubba Tent
The Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 is the best budget tent on the market, while the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 is the best overall tent you can buy.
Sleeping bagMarmot Trestle 30A 30° F or 0° C sleeping bag should keep you plenty warm on the Coast to Coast.
Sleeping padNemo Astro Insulated Sleeping PadIf you are a side sleeper this is a must! Even if you're not, this is one of the most lightweight and comfortable sleeping pads out there.
PillowTherm-a-Rest pillowIf you're camping more than a few nights you will be glad you packed this!
StoveMSR Pocket Rocket StoveIan has used this stove for nearly a decade and highly recommends it!
Backpacking potGSI Halulite
UtensilsHumangear SporkBest $4 you will ever spend!
Plate/Bowl/MugMSR 2-person mess kitWe find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.
Black Sail Hostel Coast to Coast Walk
The delightfully cozy Black Sail Hostel.

Hostel/Bunkhouse Gear

If you are sticking strictly to hotels, B&B’s, and guesthouses, you shouldn’t need to worry about the items on this list. However, for those staying in communal/dorm-style accommodations, there are some essential items you need to pack. Keep in mind that most hostels provide bedding, but you should check with individual places in advance to be sure. On the other hand, you will be responsible for providing your own towel (although some places will rent you one for an additional fee).

Most valuable item for bunkhouses & hostels: Mac’s Ear Plugs

Hiking is infinitely less fun when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. There are many wonderful hostels along the Coast to Coast Walk, but Olympic-level snorers and other noisy neighbors seem to hang out in all of them. These earplugs do an excellent job of blocking out sleep-sabotaging sounds. We find that they work better, stay in longer, and are more comfortable than those cheap foam earplugs.


ItemOur recommended gear 
EarplugsMack's EarplugsThe perfect defense for that snorer next door!
Sleeping maskAlaska Bear Sleeping MaskPerfect to block out light while sleeping in dormitories.
Sleep sheetVumos Sleep SheetA nice item to have for nights in bunkhouses and hostels.
Travel towelSea to Summit Drylite TowelMany hostels and bunkhouses on the Coast to Coast do not provide towels.
Sandals/SlippersCrocsWhile not the most stylish, Crocs make the perfect bunkhouse/hostel shoes!

Everything you need to to plan your Coast to Coast Walk – all in one place.

Whether you prefer bunkhouses or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Coast to Coast Walk adventure!

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Coast to Coast adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for anyone walking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete and adaptable 12-day, 14-day, and 17-day Coast to Coast itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire walk & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the trail
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW

What’s Next?

Check out our other great Coast to Coast Walk Resources:

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The Ultimate Guide to the Coast to Coast Walk

Back in 1973, a legendary man named Alfred Wainwright devised a new walking route across Northern England, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea and through three incredible national…

Back in 1973, a legendary man named Alfred Wainwright devised a new walking route across Northern England, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea and through three incredible national parks along the way. The walk was popularized by his detailed book, A Coast to Coast Walk, and even became the star of its own TV series. Decades later, the Coast to Coast (C2C) Walk continues to inspire walkers from all over the world, with its varied scenery, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.

The Coast to Coast walk remains an unofficial trail, though it makes good use of the U.K.’s plentiful access paths and public rights of way. In many ways, the fact that the C2C doesn’t have National Trail status actually adds to its appeal. It has an eclectic and grassroots kind of feel to it, and it’s clear that both hikers and locals feel a real sense of responsibility for the well being of this special trail.

In this post:

Looking out over a tarn and green hills in England's Lakes District on the Coast to Coast Walk
A beautiful sunny day in the Lakes District.

Everything you need to to plan your Coast to Coast Walk – all in one place.

Whether you prefer bunkhouses or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Coast to Coast Walk adventure!

LEARN MORE

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Coast to Coast adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for anyone walking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete and adaptable 12-day, 14-day, and 17-day Coast to Coast itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire walk & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the trail
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW

Why Walk the Coast to Coast?

How often do you get the chance to walk across an entire country? And, better yet, without having to quit your job or spend several months on the road? Traversing the nearly 200 miles between the western and eastern coasts of England is profoundly rewarding. It is incredible to watch the landscape change from the dramatic mountains of the Lakes District, to the rolling pastures of the Yorkshire Dales, to the agricultural heartland in the center of the country, and finally through the bleak and stunning North York Moors before reaching the sea at the picturesque bluffs near Robin Hood’s Bay.

Perhaps even more wonderful than the incredible landscapes are the people and communities you’ll encounter along the way. The Coast to Coast Walk is undoubtedly an amazing outdoor adventure, but it is also a rich cultural experience and a rewarding personal journey.

A trail sign on the Coast to Coast Walk shows the distances to St. Bees and Robin Hood's Bay
A trail sign on the Coast to Coast reminds walkers of the incredible distances they’ve covered!

How Long is the Coast to Coast Walk?

Official Distance: 192 miles (309 kilometers)

Elevation Gain: 29,000 feet (8,850 meters)

The Coast to Coast walk is purported to be 192 miles from St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. While this is certainly a close estimate, we measured (via GPS) the Coast to Coast to be 186 miles long for those who stick to the traditional route. For those on the metric system that’s a whopping 300 km!

Of course, measuring the exact distance of the Coast to Coast has little practical value, as walkers will certainly end up walking further than the specific measured distance. The taking of alternate routes, detours, and the occasional jaunt off the trail to visit the local pub will assuredly make the distance actually walked vary from person to person.

How long does it take to walk the Coast to Coast?

Wainwright originally broke his route into twelve stages, each ending in a place with overnight accommodation. However, most of today’s guidebooks break up the walk into a more reasonable thirteen stages, which averages out to about fourteen miles per day. Even a thirteen-day itinerary will be quite challenging for many walkers. Towards the end of this guide, we’ve provided 17-day, 14-day, and 12-day itineraries to give you a sense of the possibilities.

Generally speaking, allow yourself about two weeks to complete the Coast to Coast Walk. Some walkers may want to move at a more relaxed pace and/or build some rest days into their itineraries. Others may want to push themselves to cover great distances each day. Remember, you don’t have to do the whole route in one go. Many walkers are happy to cover just a segment, based on their individual schedules and preferences.

  • Fast pace: 11-13 days
  • Moderate pace: 13-16 days
  • Relaxed pace: 16-19 days
Rainy weather on Ennerdale Water in the Lakes District, Coast to Coast Walk
Moody weather is part of the Coast to Coast experience.

When is the best time to walk the Coast to Coast?

There are some hearty souls who attempt the Coast to Coast during England’s dark, cold, wet winter months, but most mere mortals will enjoy it much more in the summer season. Due to the fact that you’ll be traversing a variety of landscapes and climates, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter a wide range of weather conditions any time you walk.

Generally speaking, here’s what you can expect in each month of the hiking season:

April: Cool temps, moderate rainfall, and sparse crowds make this an attractive month to hike. Be aware of the shorter days, which allow for fewer daylight hours on the trail.

May & June: The weather tends to be a bit milder and more settled than in April and the days are longer, but it’s still pretty quiet on the trail. These are great months to walk to C2C.

July/August: School holidays and warm weather mean that these are the busiest months on the Coast to Coast. July and August (August in particular) tend to be wetter than May and June, but you can also get some brilliant sunny days, too.

September: With few crowds, mild temperatures, and relatively less rainfall, September is a wonderful time to be on the trail.

October: The days begin to get shorter, colder, and wetter as you enter October. You may get some incredibly clear and crisp autumn days, but you’ll also need to be prepared for harsh conditions.

Rainbow in Yorkshire Dales on the Coast to Coast Walk
Magical moments occur year-round on the Coast to Coast Walk.

Which Direction to Walk the Coast to Coast?

Wainwright devised the original Coast to Coast route to be traversed from west to east, but it can easily be walked in either direction.

West to East

Begin with the stunning Lakes District and tackle the most challenging terrain with fresh legs. Traditionalists will appreciate following in Wainwright’s footsteps, and the prevailing winds are likely to be at your back. This is the more popular direction to walk so you’ll make friends with the other hikers you encounter again and again.

East to West

Meet new hikers each day and shake up tradition. This direction allows you to save the dramatic Lakes section for the grand finale, and also approach it with the enhanced fitness you’ve built along the walk. International travelers will enjoy the easier connection to Manchester upon finishing.

Rainbow in Yorkshire Dales on the Coast to Coast Walk
Whichever way you choose to walk, St. Bees head makes for a dramatic start or finish to your adventure!

How Difficult is the Coast to Coast Walk?

Let’s start by saying this: any long-distance hike that requires two weeks’ of nonstop walking is going to be challenging. The cumulative stress on your body adds up after several consecutive long days on the trail. When it comes to a thru-hike like the Coast to Coast, it is definitely important to respect the distance.

That all accounted for, compared to many of its counterparts, the C2C is quite approachable.

The most physically strenuous sections of the trail are found in the Lakes District. In these stages you’ll find the biggest elevation changes and steepest climbs.

In the middle section of the walk, you’ll have some days where you’ll need to cover great distances (often 15-20 miles in a single day). These stages mostly entail flat, easy walking, but they require endurance and the repetitive motion can be hard on the body.

It’s important to take into account the mental challenges of a long-distance walk, as well. There are some very long stretches of road walking through uninteresting farmland that seem to go on forever. These can often feel harder than summiting a mountain! However, finding a strong headspace and pushing through our mind’s own limitations is the very reason many of us love with hiking in the first place. These challenges are the very best!

Road walking in the North York Moors Coast to Coast Walk
Long stretches like this one can challenge both the mind and body.

Finally, England’s temperamental weather can add a significant level of challenge to your trek. From relentless rain, to gale-force winds, to blazing sunshine, the elements will certainly add another layer of difficulty to your walk at some point or another.

Conclusion: With the proper preparation, any reasonably fit hiker can complete the Coast to Coast Walk. This is not a super-technical mountaineering endeavor reserved for only the hiking elite. Families, older adults, and less experienced walkers can certainly find enjoyment and success on the C2C. The trail rarely ventures too far from civilization, allowing for plenty of shortcut opportunities and easy logistics. Just remember to train in advance, take time to prepare your route, logistics, and kit, and, of course, respect the distance.

Weather

As we mentioned in the When to Go section, you’ll encounter a wide range of weather conditions throughout your walk (see that section for a month-by-month weather breakdown, too). One thing is nearly certain: it’s going to rain at some point along your walk. Be sure to pack some good waterproofs so you can enjoy England’s wet climate to the fullest!

Don’t be fooled by the relatively low elevation profiles on this walk; the conditions can quickly change in the mountains and hills. This can be dangerous if you’re not prepared (especially in the Lakes District where you’ll be on exposed peaks and ridgelines). If there are very high winds, torrential rains, or thunderstorms predicted, you should not attempt to hike.

The Met Office has an excellent app and website for forecasting England’s ever-changing elements. Make sure to pay special attention to the “Hazards” section, as this gives a useful rating of any potential inclement weather in the forecast. The Met Office allows you to search locations by postal code, interactive map, town name, or landmark. This is important, as weather events can be quite localized, so try to search as close to where you’ll be hiking as possible.

Cloudy skies in the Lakes District on the Coast to Coast Walk
The weather can change quickly in the mountains and fells.

Accommodation

Walkers of every style and budget will find plenty of excellent lodging options along the Coast to Coast. In fact, the unique and friendly accommodations are a highlight of many C2C walkers’ experiences. The available options vary greatly from place to place, but we’ve outlined all of the types of accommodation you’ll encounter along the Coast to Coast Walk.

For a complete accommodation directory, be sure to check out our Coast to Coast Accommodation Guide!

B&B’s and Guesthouses

These are what the Coast to Coast is all about. With their warm hospitality, incredible full English breakfasts, and cozy decor, independently-run guesthouses are at the heart of the C2C experience. Expect to pay about £65 per person in a double room.

Our favorite Coast to Coast B&B’s

Castle House, Richmond: Richmond is a charming town located roughly halfway along the C2C, making it an ideal place for a rest day. If you want to take your relaxation to the next level, don’t miss staying at the Castle House! Everything is top-notch here, from the well-appointed rooms to the sumptuous breakfast spread.

Fernleigh B&B, Robin Hood’s Bay: With the friendliest owners, thoughtful touches everywhere, a peaceful location, and luxurious amenities, this is the perfect place to treat yourself upon finishing your C2C walk.

Full English Breakfast at a B&B on the Coast to Coast walk
If you choose to stay at B&B’s, expect to eat like a king!

Hotels

While certainly less plentiful than B&B’s, there are a fair number of hotels located along the Coast to Coast route, mostly in larger towns. These hotels are not of the big, chain variety, but rather smaller, independently-owned establishments. They vary quite a bit in terms of price and quality, but most are very well-appointed and include amenities such as wifi, tea/coffee, and often breakfast. A double room will typically cost you about £100 a night.

Our favorite Coast to Coast Hotels

Scafell Hotel, Borrowdale: This hotel mixes the classic charm of a historic countryhouse with the modern luxuries of recently renovated guestrooms. Plus, there’s a fabulous free breakfast.

Burgoyne Hotel, Reeth: Hungry hikers always rave about the delicious meals at the Burgoyne (breakfast is included). Beyond the food, the rooms are quite comfortable and hotel’s setting is convenient and beautiful.

Coast to Coast Walk hotel accommodation
Hotels along the Coast to Coast tend to be smaller, independent, and quite charming.

Bunkhouses and Hostels

Bunkhouses and hostels provide an excellent budget option for those who are not keen on camping. There are several hostels run by the YHA along the route, and these are particularly good. Facilities vary widely across the many bunkhouses and hostels along the C2C, but generally you can expect dorm-style accommodations with shared bathrooms (sometimes mixed gender). Many places provide communal kitchens and lounge areas, drying rooms, wifi, and meals for purchase. Most bunkhouses and hostels require you to bring your own sleeping bag and towel. The average dorm bed in a bunkhouse or hostel costs about £40 a night.

Our Favorite Bunkhouses and Hostels

YHA Patterdale: With a beautiful kitchen and lounge area, spotless facilities, and piping hot showers, this is undoubtedly one of the best hostels along the Coast to Coast.

YHA Grasmere: We can’t speak highly enough about the YHA hostels, and their Grasmere hostel is a prime example of why we love them. Set in a perfect location and housed in a charming historic building, a night at the YHA Grasmere feels more like staying at friend’s mansion than at a hostel. It’s more expensive than other options in the area, but the great facilities make it a good value.

Black Sail Hostel Coast to Coast Walk
The delightfully cozy Black Sail Hostel.

Camping

Camping on the Coast to Coast is a budget-friendly option that allows for maximum flexibility and freedom on your walk. Wild camping is not permitted anywhere in Northern England, although it is possible to pitch your tent in a low-profile way in a few places along the route, particularly in the Lakes District. For those who prefer official campgrounds, there are numerous camping options located throughout the Coast to Coast Walk. These range from luxurious holiday parks to basic pub gardens, but most campgrounds provide toilets, showers, and electronics charging. Prices vary widely, but expect to average around £10 per person to camp in an organized campground.

Our favorite Coast to Coast Camping

Orchard Caravan and Camping Park, Reeth: Set in a tranquil location within a few minutes’ walk to town, this campground has thoughtful touches, excellent facilities, and plenty of flat, grassy pitches.

Intake Farm B&B, Littlebeck: Instead of stopping in Grosmont, campers should push on further to this gem in Littlebeck. The friendly B&B owners welcome campers in their lovely garden and allow them access to the shower and toilet inside the main house. Complimentary tea, cake, and chit chat is served upon arrival, and meals can be purchased on request.

Don’t forget to check out this post for a comprehensive list of C2C accommodation!

Camping on the Coast to Coast Walk
Camping provides great value and maximum flexibility.

Food & Drink

Delicious food and drink are plentiful along the Coast to Coast, making your adventure as much a culinary delight as an outdoor endeavor. If you plan on staying mostly in guesthouses and B&B’s along the route, expect to fill up on lavish breakfast spreads each morning. Many of these accommodations will also provide packed lunches for an additional fee. Dinner is served at the many guesthouses, inns, and pubs located at frequent intervals along the route, although many require that you book your meal a few hours in advance. These meals are generally hearty and delicious, but you’ll pay handsomely for the convenience.

Those on a tighter budget can self-cater quite easily along the Coast to Coast Walk. There are grocery stores and shops at several points along the route, allowing you to resupply frequently and carry less weight in your pack. Many hostels have communal kitchens where walkers can prepare meals, but campers should bring their own stove and cookware.

Honestly boxes stocked with candy bars, snacks, and soda can be found in a few places along the route. These can be the most wonderful surprise pick-me-up on a long day of walking!

Regardless of your approach to food and drink on the Coast to Coast, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Always plan ahead to ensure you have enough food with you at all times. Look to see where the next restaurant or shop is located, and prepare accordingly. Carry an extra meal and some snacks to have in case your plans change.
  • Don’t miss out on some of the best gastronomic experiences the Coast to Coast has to offer. Be sure to enjoy a real ale in a cozy pub, a cup of tea on a wet afternoon, and a full English breakfast at least once along your route.
Food and drink on the Coast to Coast Walk
Everything tastes more delicious after a long day of walking!

Water

You can fill up on clean drinking water at most pubs and guesthouses along the route. It’s a good idea to carry 1-3 liters with you each day, depending on the weather and total mileage. Unless you’re certain you’ll be able to refill along the way, fill up for the entire day before setting off in the morning. Do not drink from rivers, streams, or other sources without filtering first.

Drinking Water on the Coast to Coast Walk
It may be tempting, but don’t drink from streams without filtering first!

Getting to and from the Walk

The Coast to Coast Walk is bookended by St. Bees on the western coast of England and Robin Hood’s Bay on the eastern coast. Both towns are accessible via public transport. Most international travelers will fly into Manchester as that is the nearest major airport to St. Bees, the traditional start of the walk.

Getting from Manchester to St.Bees

It’s quite easy to travel by train from Manchester to St. Bees, as there’s a railway station in the center of St. Bees that receives several trains each day (except Sundays). The journey from Manchester Piccadilly Station to St.Bees takes 3-4 hours and requires 1-2 transfers depending on the booking. Tickets can be purchased at Manchester Piccadilly or in advance through TransPennine Express.

Depending on how far in advance you purchase your ticket, time of year, and time of day, one-way ticket prices range from £20-£60.

Getting from Robin Hood’s Bay to Manchester

Getting between Manchester and Robin Hood’s Bay is a little less straightforward.

The cheapest option is to travel by bus. Arriva runs a service from Robin Hood’s Bay to Middlesbrough. From there you can take another coach service to Manchester (Megabus and National Express both offer service). The entire journey takes 5-8 hours and costs about £30.

If you want to travel by train, you’ll first need to get a railway station in one of the nearby towns that have stations, either Whitby or Scarborough. It’s possible to take an Arriva bus from Robin Hood’s Bay to Whitby or Scarborough. TransPennine Express operates a rail line that runs from Whitby and Scarborough to Manchester. The entire journey takes about 4-6 hours and costs about £60.

Manchester Piccadilly Station Coast to Coast Walk transportation
Many walkers will connect through Manchester’s Piccadilly Station to get to and from the Coast to Coast.

Maps and Guidebooks

Given that the Coast to Coast is not a National Trail in the UK, you won’t find the usual trail signs giving clear directions at every turn. Rather, the Coast to Coast is often very poorly marked and can be difficult to navigate on. For that reason we highly recommend that every walker have some sort of map (digital or paper, preferably both) that they bring with them on their Coast to Coast trek.

Maps

When we walked Wainwright’s Coast to Coast we did not use paper maps, other than those included in our guidebook. Instead, we utilized downloadable GPS maps on our phones to ensure we knew where the trail was as well as where our next stop was. Given that cell phone service can be spotty along the route, especially in the Lakes District, it is critical to have a good offline mapping app, such as Gaia GPS, to ensure you’ll be able to access your location.

If you’re interested in utilizing this method of navigating, you can learn more in our Coast to Coast Maps and Routes post.

Even with the convenience of GPS navigation, we still recommend carrying a paper map or map booklet for the Coast to Coast. This will provide a bit of insurance should that trusty phone of yours get dropped in a puddle or soaked in one of the many downpours you’ll surely encounter.

Given the long distance of the Coast to Coast walk we highly recommend bringing a compact map booklet that contains the entire route. We like the version created by Cicerone, which contains Ordnance Survey maps (Ordinance Survey is the UK’s national mapping service) for the entire Coast to Coast route at 1:25,000 scale. You can purchase that map booklet here.

If you’d prefer to carry full-size Ordnance Survey maps for the entire Coast to Coast, you can find the entire set here.

If you do plan to carry paper maps, a weatherproof carrying case like this one wouldn’t hurt to have either.

Navigating on the Coast to Coast Walk
A map is an essential piece of gear for the Coast to Coast Walk!

Guidebooks

Both Cicerone and Trailblazer make excellent guides for the Coast to Coast Walk. Both are filled with tons of great content, from local history to practical information and insider tips. We highly recommend bringing either along on your walk, as it will make your journey smoother and your experience richer.

The Trailblazer book is the best overall guide in terms of its organization, in-depth trail narratives, and accommodation/logistics information.

Ciccerone’s guide is slightly less user-friendly and a little lacking in on-trail information, but it offers an Ebook version (Trailblazer does not). This is a great option for those trying to keep their packs as light as possible!

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the guide that started it all: Wainwrights original book, A Coast to Coast Walk. This one is less useful as a guidebook, but still a wonderful source of inspiration chock full of incredible illustrations and colorful anecdotes.

Shap Abbey, Coast to Coast Walk
Shap Abbey. Bringing along a guidebook will ensure that you appreciate sights like this one to the fullest.

Budgeting and Money

The UK is expensive. It’s easy to spend a fortune on your Coast to Coast Walk. If you want to stay in plush B&B’s, eat most meals in restaurants and pubs, and treat yourself to modern conveniences (such as baggage transfers), you’re going to need deep pockets.

However, it is absolutely possible to walk the Coast to Coast on a small budget, and still have a great time doing so. Self-catering most meals and camping along the route are the two best ways to save money on the C2C.

Here’s a very general breakdown of various expenses on the Coast to Coast:

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £75 (per person/per night)
  • Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40 (per person/per night)
  • Camping: £10 (per person/per night)
  • Meal at pub/restaurant: £15-£20
  • Pint of beer: £4-£5
  • Cup of tea/coffee: £3
  • Regional transport: £50
  • Local transport: £3-£10
  • Baggage Transfer: £10 (per bag/per day)

Money

Credit cards are accepted at many shops, restaurants, and accommodations along the Coast to Coast. That being said, plenty of smaller places (such as some guesthouses, campgrounds, and cafes) still require cash. As it may be many miles before you reach the next ATM, it’s always a good idea to carry enough cash to cover your expenses for a few days.

You’ll also need cash or a contactless card for most local buses, so keep that in mind if you plan on taking any shortcuts or detours.

Coast to Coast Walk budgeting
At least the million dollar views on the Coast to Coast don’t have to cost a fortune (just a bit of physical effort)!

What to Pack for the Coast to Coast Walk

Regardless of fitness level or hiking style, there is one golden rule that rings true for all walkers: the lighter your pack the better off you’ll be. It can be tempting to carry a lot with you on your C2C trek- you’re walking across an entire country after all! In reality though, it’s what you don’t pack that will help you the most on your journey.

To be clear, we’re not suggesting you need to be an extreme minimalist, but simply that you put some thought into what goes in your rucksack. That’s where we can help! Read on for our very best, tried-and-true packing advice.

For a full kit list, check out this post!

Footwear on the Coast to Coast

Taking care of your feet is of the utmost important on a long-distance walk like the C2C. Blisters, chafing, and other ailments can completely sabotage your experience, and the Coast to Coast’s wide range of underfoot conditions and wet environments can increase your risk of issues. The right shoes and socks can make all the difference.

Hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will all work for the Coast to Coast Walk, provided that they will work for your unique needs. The most important thing is that they’re adequately broken in and that you’ve tested them on multiple walks to ensure they are comfortable.

In terms of waterproofing, there are two opposing schools of thought about this. It is inevitable that your feet will get wet at multiple points along your walk, from driving rains, flooded paths, bogs, and so on. Many hikers prefer to use sturdy boots with a thick layer of waterproofing to keep the moisture out as much as possible. This is a good strategy, but keep in mind that when these heavier shoes get wet they can take a long time to dry. Other prefer to use breathable trail shoes. These will get wet right away, but they’ll also be dry again within a couple hours and allow your feet to get some air in the meantime. It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but it’s a good idea to try a few options out prior to setting off on your C2C journey.

Good socks are also a game-changer on the Coast to Coast. We love merino wool socks like these for their comfort, breathability, and anti-stink qualities.

If you’re blister-prone, consider trying toe socks, sock liners, and/or body glide.

Coast to Coast footwear
Good footwear and rain pants are necessities for the Coast to Coast Walk!

Don’t forget to check out our Complete Coast to Coast Packing List for a detailed kit list and expert advice!

Good Waterproofs

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad rain gear! You will undoubtedly face plenty of wet days on your Coast to Coast, so good waterproofs are an important investment.

At the very minimum, make sure you have a lightweight rain jacket, rain pants, and a pack cover. Some hikers pack their clothing and other items inside trash bags or waterproof packing cubes as an extra precaution. A hat can be nice to keep the rain out of your face. A waterproof carrying case for your map and/or phone isn’t a bad idea either. Finally, many walkers like to use gaiters for especially boggy or flooded areas.

Coast to Coast packing list waterproof gear
Glad to have our waterproofs and pack covers!

Choosing a backpack for the Coast to Coast

Just like with footwear, a properly fitting backpack is crucial on the Coast to Coast walk. Also similar to your boots, your pack needs to be broken in for optimal comfort. We recommend carrying a weighted pack on your training walks to get used to the extra weight and ensure it fits well.

If you plan on staying in B&B’s along the route, you won’t need a very large rucksack. A 25-liter pack should be enough to hold a few clothing items, food, water, and toiletries.

Those staying in dorms and bunkhouses will most likely need to carry a sleeping bag and towel. A 30-40L pack will be more than enough space for everything you need.

If you plan on camping, you’ll need a larger pack to fit your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and cooking equipment in addition to your basic supplies. A 45-60L pack will be suitable for most campers.

How to Train for the Coast to Coast Walk

The Coast to Coast walk is not extremely strenuous relative to most long-distance hikes, but it is still very important to get in shape before attempting it. You will have a much more enjoyable experience if you are not dragging your miserable, exhausted body to the end of the trail each day!

Endurance

The best thing to do to prepare your body for two weeks of daily long walks is to build your endurance base. Ideally, you should aim to hike, walk, or do another moderately-paced cardio-building activity (like jogging, rowing, cycling, or swimming) 3-4 times per week for at least three months leading up to your trip. Even 20-30 minutes of walking is helpful, although you should try to get in at least one longer effort (1-4 hours) every week or two.

Strength

It’s also a good idea to incorporate some strength training to prevent injuries and imbalances as you increase the time spent on your feet. Core exercises are important for stability and will help you manage the weight of your pack. You should also aim to regularly complete a variety of leg exercises to prepare for the demands of the trail.

Mental

Finally, don’t forget to train your mind for long hours of walking! Being mentally strong is critical for those seemingly endless stretches or unexpected challenges that arise on a long-distance trek. Positive mantras, favorite daydreams, and simple mind games can all be helpful when you’re struggling mentally.

Coast to Coast Walk Difficulty
The greater the challenge, the sweeter the reward.

Itineraries and Stage Descriptions

There are limitless ways to walk the Coast to Coast. Some people do just a segment at a time, others spend weeks meandering across the entire route, and others fastpack it in much less time. It’s up to you to determine your perfect itinerary, keeping in mind your time-frame, fitness, and travel style.

As a starting point, we’ve provided a detailed guide for a classic, 14-day itinerary. We’ve also provided basic 12-day and 17-day itineraries. All itineraries follow the traditional west-to-east direction, but could easily be reversed.

Little Beck Wood, Stage Fourteen Coast to Coast Walk UK
The final stage of the walk meanders through the gorgeous Little Beck Wood.

Classic 14-Day Itinerary

Stage 1: St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

Distance/Elevation: 14.04 mi // +2,542 ft, -2,214 ft

Where to Stay: Thorntrees B&B

Begin your walk by completing two very important Coast to Coast rites of passage. Head down to the water’s edge to dip your boots in the Irish Sea and pick up a pebble. You’ll dunk your boots in the North Sea and deposit your pebble upon finishing in Robin Hood’s Bay. Once you’ve savored these great traditions, follow the trail atop ruggedly beautiful seaside clifs as it makes its way out of St. Bees. Once you turn inland, it’s mostly flat walking past farmland and through a couple of quaint villages. There’s a final climb over Dent Fell (and phenomenal views) before a few more easy miles to Ennerdale Bridge.

Stage One of the Coast to Coast Walk from St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge.
Stage One of the Coast to Coast Walk from St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge.

Stage 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite

Distance/Elevation: 14.71 mi // +2,320 ft, -2,385 ft

Where to Stay: Hazel Bank Country House

Stage Two is arguably one of the most beautiful of the entire walk, and certainly showcases the best of the Lakes District. Begin on a rugged path that traces the length of Ennerdale Water before winding your way up to the remote Black Sail Hostel. The hostel is as cozy and charming as can be, set against a stunningly wild backdrop. Pop in for a cup of tea before tackling the steep ascent to Honister Pass. Finish with a picturesque descent into Rosthwaite.

Stage two of the Coast to Coast Walk from Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite.
Stage two of the Coast to Coast Walk from Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite.

Stage 3: Rosthwaite to Grasmere

Distance/Elevation: 7.23 mi // +1,987 ft, -1,992 ft

Where to Stay: Beck Allan’s Guest House

Enjoy more incredible Lakeland beauty on this stage, which starts with wild landscapes and rugged trails. There is one section that requires mild scrambling as you make your way up to Lining Crag. Cross the vast, boggy Greenup Edge before choosing between the more straightforward main route down or the dramatic variant over Helm Crag. A delightful evening in Grasmere is the perfect reward for your efforts.

Stage three of the Coast to Coast Walk from Rosthwaite to Grasmere.
Stage three of the Coast to Coast Walk from Rosthwaite to Grasmere.

Stage 4: Grasmere to Patterdale

Distance/Elevation: 7.53 mi // +1,948 ft, -1,739 ft

Where to Stay: Old Water View Hotel

This stage begins on a gently climbing path that leads walkers through attractive farmland before entering more untamed hillsides. As you ascend towards Grisedale Hause (the high point of this stage), incredible vistas open up first behind you and later in front of you. Follow a rocky, rugged path for a bit before the trail becomes gentler as you approach Patterdale. Be sure to stop in at the atmospheric White Lion Pub in Patterdale to commemorate your final night in the Lakes District.

Stage four of the Coast to Coast Walk from Grasmere to Patterdale.
Stage four of the Coast to Coast Walk from Grasmere to Patterdale.
Patterdale Coast to Coast Walk
The charming village of Patterdale.

Stage 5: Patterdale to Shap

Distance/Elevation: 15.25 mi // +3,291 ft, -2,955 ft

Where to Stay: New Ing Lodge

One of the best parts of the Coast to Coast Walk is the way it allows walkers to witness the changing landscapes that make up the diverse patchwork of Northern English terrain. Stage Five is one of the best examples of this. The first section is marked by a challenging final climb to Kidsty Pike, the highest point of the entire walk. From there, you’ll leave the mountainous Lakeland behind as you descend to Haweswater. It’s a tedious but scenic walk as you trace the length of the lake. When you finally leave Haweswater, a new landscape of rolling hills and pastures opens up before you. Take a short detour to explore the historic Shap Abbey before resting up in the small village of Shap after a long day on your feet.

Stage five of the Coast to Coast Walk from Patterdale to Shap.
Stage five of the Coast to Coast Walk from Patterdale to Shap.
Shap Coast to Coast Walk Stage Five
Beautiful pastoral scenery awaits as you near the village of Shap.

Stage 6: Shap to Kirkby Stephen

Distance/Elevation: 19.3 mi // +1,714 ft, -1,977 ft

Where to Stay: Fletcher House

Stage Six covers quite a bit of distance, but those weary of the Lakeland climbs will find some relief. Alternate between colorful moors and tidy farmland, all while marveling at the wide-open spaces. The sky feels boundless and the green stretches on forever. You’ll learn to use new muscles as you navigate the many stiles that you’ll cross as you pass through farmland. End the day in the well-appointed town of Kirkby Stephen, which offers many shops, restaurants, and other services.

Stage six of the Coast to Coast Walk from Shap to Kirkby Stephen.
Stage six of the Coast to Coast Walk from Shap to Kirkby Stephen.

Stage 7: Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Distance/Elevation: 11.54 mi // +1,910 ft, -1,431 ft

Where to Stay: Frith Lodge

If you brought along your gaiters and waterproof boots, today is the day to use them! Stage Seven packs plenty of excitement (and a good deal of challenge) into a relatively short distance. Start the day with a climb to the legendary and mysterious Nine Standards Rigg, which marks the watershed of Britain. From there, the bog-hopping begins! Pay close attention to the color-coded routes, as the appropriate route varies by time of year to prevent excessive erosion and environmental impacts. After a wet and wild traverse of the bogs, descend to a stream set in a picturesque valley. An undulating and scenic path (with a bit of road walking) carries you to Keld.

Stage seven of the Coast to Coast Walk from Kirkby Stephen to Keld.
Stage seven of the Coast to Coast Walk from Kirkby Stephen to Keld.
Nine Standards Rigg Stage 7 Coast to Coast Walk
Nine Standards Rigg.

Stage 8: Keld to Reeth

Distance/Elevation: 10.66 mi // +1,818 ft, -2,200 ft

Where to Stay: The Burgoyne Hotel

There are two route options between Keld and Reeth and both are splendid. The high-level route takes walkers on a rugged climb to bleak moorland scattered with fascinating old mining remains. This is the more challenging option, both in terms of physical exertion and also because poor waymarking makes navigation quite difficult. The low-level route ambles alongside the River Swale for much of the way, providing delightful glimpses of waterfalls, wildflowers, pastures, and forests. This stage showcases some of the best of the Yorkshire Dales.

Stage eight of the Coast to Coast Walk from Keld to Reeth.
Stage eight of the Coast to Coast Walk from Keld to Reeth.

Stage 9: Reeth to Richmond

Distance/Elevation: 10.36 mi // +1,360 ft, -1,576 ft

Where to Stay: The Castle House B&B

Stage Nine is characterized by mellow walking through rolling pastures and farmlands. There is a good bit of road walking on this stage, but the numerous points of interest more than make up for it. At the beginning of the walk, you’ll pass the remains of the 12th century Marrick Priory (worth a short detour), in the middle section you’ll pass through the lovely village of Marske along with its 12th century church, and you’ll end the day by meandering through the peaceful woods of Applegarth farms. Richmond makes a delightful and well-located place for a rest day.

Stage nine of the Coast to Coast Walk from Reeth to Richmond.
Stage nine of the Coast to Coast Walk from Reeth to Richmond.
Richmond Coast to Coast Walk
Exploring Richmond is a perfect rest day activity.

Stage 10: Richmond to Danby Wiske

Distance/Elevation: 13.36 mi // +427 ft, -750 ft

Where to Stay: The White Swan

Begin the day by following an idyllic path along the River Swale. Eventually, you’ll bid the river farewell and begin a long trek through endless farm fields. It certainly feels like you’ve made it into England’s heartland at this point in the walk. There’s quite a bit of road walking on Stage Ten, but many trekkers will welcome the easier change of pace. Be sure to check out the beautiful Norman church while in Danby Wiske.

Stage ten of the Coast to Coast Walk from Richmond to Danby Wiske.
Stage ten of the Coast to Coast Walk from Richmond to Danby Wiske.

Stage 11: Danby Wiske to Osmotherley

Distance/Elevation: 10.29 mi // +829 ft, -253 ft

Where to Stay: Vane House

Stage Eleven is yet again filled with flat, easy, pastoral walking. Savor the relaxed pace as you enjoy your final stage in this middle portion of the walk before tackling the North York Moors. There’s plenty of road walking, although history buffs will appreciate that part of it is on an ancient Roman road. Pause for a moment at Ingleby Cross, the official boundary of the North York Moors National Park and the final fifty miles of your adventure.

Stage 11 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Danby Wiske to Osmotherley.
Stage 11 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Danby Wiske to Osmotherley.

Stage 12: Osmotherley to Blakey Ridge

Distance/Elevation: 18.47 mi // +3,106 ft, -2,506 ft

Where to Stay: The Lion Inn

The first half of Stage Twelve largely uphill as you make your way through the scenic Cleveland Hills and eventually to the high point at Urra Moor. The incline is a refreshing change of pace after days of flat walking, as are the expansive views as you gain elevation. Once atop Urra Moor, take in the seas of heather (which turn a beautiful purple in late summer and fall) for miles and miles. There are virtually no services between Osmotherley and Blakey Ridge, but most accommodation providers in the area will pick up and drop off hikers at various points along the way as needed to break up this long stretch.

Stage 12 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Osmotherley to Blakey Ridge (The Lion Inn).
Stage 12 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Osmotherley to Blakey Ridge (The Lion Inn).
North York Moors Stage 12 Coast to Coast Walk
Beautiful purple heather in the North York Moors.

Stage 13: Blakey Ridge to Grosmont

Distance/Elevation: 13.17 mi // +504 ft, -1,693 ft

Where to Stay: Grosmont House

There’s a long, bleak stretch of road walking through the moors at the beginning of this stage, interrupted only by the infamous “Fat Betty.” Betty is actually one of many centuries old moorland crosses that can be found in the area, but she is unique in that she’s become an informal trading post of sorts for hikers to leave and take food and gear as they near the eastern terminus of the walk. Once the monotony of the road is behind you, you’ll be rewarded by a gorgeous traverse over high moors as you descend towards Glaisdale. Once out of the Moors, follow peaceful lanes into the charming village of Grosmont. Be sure to check out the authentic steam trains while you’re there.

Stage 13 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Blakey Ridge (The Lion Inn) to Grosmont.
Stage 13 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Blakey Ridge (The Lion Inn) to Grosmont.

Stage 14: Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay

Distance/Elevation: 14.99 mi // +2,115 ft, -2,197 ft

Where to Stay: Fernleigh B&B

This final marvelous stage of the Coast to Coast seems to give you a little taste of everything you’ve encountered on your journey thus far: woodlands, moors, bogs, farms, seaside cliffs, villages, and maybe even a variety of weather elements if you’re lucky! After a stunning traverse of the coastal bluffs, you’ll wind your way down through the incredibly quaint village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Mark the end of your journey by dipping your boots and depositing your pebbles in the North Sea. The Bay Hotel, conveniently located at the water’s edge, is the traditional spot for a celebratory pint and the place to add your name to the C2C logbook.

Stage 14 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay.
Stage 14 of the Coast to Coast Walk from Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay.
Robin Hood's Bay Coast to Coast Walk
Robin Hood’s Bay.

Fast-Paced 12-Day Itinerary

This option is best for experienced walkers who have limited time to complete the C2C. To traverse the entire route in just twelve days will require you to cover significant distances each day. If you are short on time but not physically and mentally prepared for such long days of walking, you can always do just a section of the walk instead of attempting to complete the entire thing.

StageStartFinishDistance (miles)Elevation Gain (feet)Elevation Loss (feet)
1St.BeesEnnerdale Bridge14.04+2,542-2,214
2Ennerdale BridgeRosthwaite14.71+2,320-2,385
3RosthwaitePatterdale14.77+3,744-3,538
4PatterdaleShap15.25+3,291-2,955
5ShapKirkby Stephen19.3+1,714-1,977
6Kirkby StephenKeld11.54+1,910-1,431
7KeldReeth10.66+1,818-2,200
8ReethRichmond10.36+1,360-1,576
9RichmondIngleby Arncliffe21.98+702-866
10Ingleby ArncliffeClay Bank Top11.62+2,755-2,162
11Clay Bank TopGlaisdale17.51+1,142-1,493
12GlaisdaleRobin Hood's Bay19.2+2,186-2,686
Yorkshire Dales Coast to Coast Walk
An idyllic scene in the Yorkshire Dales.

Relaxed-Pace 17-Day Itinerary

If you’ve got the time, it’s worth considering this 17-day itinerary. With daily distances averaging a little over ten miles each day, this itinerary is approachable for a wide range of ability levels while still allowing you to achieve rewarding feats. Even better, incorporate a rest day or two into your itinerary to really savor the experience to the fullest.

StageStartFinishDistance (miles)Elevation Gain (feet)Elevation Loss (feet)
1St. BeesEnnerdale Bridge14.04+2,542-2,214
2Ennerdale BridgeBlack Sail Hostel9.05+1,269-676
3Black Sail HostelRosthwaite5.66+1,217-1,875
4RosthwaiteGrasmere7.23+1,987-1,992
5GrasmerePatterdale7.53+1,948-1,739
6PatteraleShap15.25+3,291-2,955
7ShapOrton6.84+827-702
8OrtonKirkby Stephen12.45+977-1,365
9Kirkby StephenKeld11.54+1,910-1,431
10KeldReeth10.66+1,818-2,200
11ReethRichmond10.36+1,360-1,576
12RichmondBolton-on-Swale7.08+302-574
13Bolton-on-SwaleIngleby Cross15.14+497-424
14Ingleby CrossClay Bank Top11.37+2,788-2,159
15Clay Bank TopLion Inn (Blakey Ridge)8.55+924-503
16Lion InnGrosmont13.17+504-1,693
17GrosmontRobin Hood's Bay14.99+2,115-2,197
Dipping Boots in the North Sea at the end of the Coast to Coast Walk.
Dipping our boots in the North Sea to celebrate the end of the journey!

Everything you need to to plan your Coast to Coast Walk – all in one place.

Whether you prefer bunkhouses or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Coast to Coast Walk adventure!

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Coast to Coast adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for anyone walking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete and adaptable 12-day, 14-day, and 17-day Coast to Coast itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire walk & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the trail
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to push your physical limits, explore world-class cultural sites, or just enjoy the simplicity of long walks in beautiful places, the Coast to Coast Walk definitely won’t disappoint. With a variety of transportation connections and itinerary options, you can truly make the experience your own. Wishing you a memorable and rewarding C2C adventure!

What’s Next?

Check out our other great Coast to Coast Walk Resources:

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How to Navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route | GPS Maps

We often get asked what is the best way to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route? Given that the route spans multiple countries, crosses 11 mountain passes, and covers over…

We often get asked what is the best way to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route? Given that the route spans multiple countries, crosses 11 mountain passes, and covers over 207 kilometers it’s no wonder that trekkers aren’t sure what maps to carry or the best way to be sure they are on the correct trail.

In this post we’ll explain exactly how we navigated during our own Walker’s Haute Route adventure utilizing offline GPS maps, and even provide some custom resources for your own trek! Let’s get started.

Overview map of the Walker's Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.
The Walker’s Haute Route winds its way from Chamonix to Zermatt.

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Everything you need to to plan your Haute Route trek – all in one place.

Whether you prefer mountain huts or tents, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Walker’s Haute Route adventure!

Our downloadable Guide to the Walker’s Haute Route is ultimate resource to help you plan your perfect trip.

Walker's Haute Route

LEARN MORE

Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Walker’s Haute Route adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for trekking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete 11-day, 13-day, and 14-day Haute Route itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire route & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the Haute Route
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

Get your digital guide today and start planning!

BUY NOW

 

Should I bring a map on the Walker’s Haute Route?

In order to fully cover the Walker’s Haute Route at a decent scale you’d need to bring no less than five Swiss Topo maps along your trek. For many, this is simply too much weight and hassle to pack. When we hiked the Walker’s Haute Route we did not rely heavily on these maps, instead choosing to utilize offline GPS maps on our phone for navigation. However, we always recommend that you bring some form of paper navigation. If you drop that handy phone in a puddle, you’ll be glad you did. The full list of Swiss Topo maps you’ll need for the route is below:

  • Swiss Topo 282T – Martigny
  • Swiss Topo 283T – Arolla
  • Swiss Topo 273T – Montana
  • Swiss Topo 274T – Visp
  • Swiss Topo 284T – Mischabel

A weatherproof carrying case like this one wouldn’t hurt to have either.

Be sure to check out our Walker’s Haute Route Packing List for a complete guide on what to bring!

Once you’ve got your maps for the Haute Route safely tucked away you can start to focus on our favorite way to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route: GPS maps on your smartphone. No cell service required!

You’ll be glad you brought your handy maps when you encounter a trail section like this!

 

Offline GPS Maps for the Walker’s Haute Route

Offline GPS maps are quickly becoming the standard for backcountry navigation given their ease of use, accessibility, and the multitude of excellent smartphone apps available. Whether taking advantage of these maps on the Walker’s Haute Route or any other trek, you simply open your chosen GPS app (see our recommended apps below) and you’ll be able to view your location along the trail, see alternate routes, and all the stopping points on your trek.

We think this is far and away the most convenient way to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route and want to help you successfully utilize offline mobile maps on your hike.

Keep reading below to learn more about how your phone can work as a GPS and how we can help you feel confident using this navigation method.

Using your phone as a GPS

Modern smartphones are incredible machines. You can send email, video chat with someone halfway around the world, and check your bank account all with a swipe of your finger. Another great feature of smartphones is their ability to act as a GPS device. You regularly use this feature when navigating with Google Maps, Apple Maps, or other mapping software that comes standard on most phones these days.

The problem is your phone relies on having an internet connection in order to download the background mapping data that needs to be displayed for you to know where you are. You see, the GPS in your phone only provides a location point, but the really valuable data is the background map that shows the various streets, businesses and even traffic conditions around you.  Without an internet connection to show the background map, your Google Maps app will look something like this: 

Blank TMB map

Not a very effective way to navigate.

Solving the background map problem

When you’re using your cell phone is a city, town, or anywhere with cell phone service getting the background map to download is no problem. Your phone simply displays the background map via the internet connection. However, once you’re out of cell phone service and without WiFi, your phone will not be able to display any of the critical background map information. This can be a huge issue when you’re standing on top of a high mountain pass on the Walker’s Haute Route and unsure which way to proceed.

The solution?

GPS navigation apps that allow for downloadable background maps.

These excellent apps allow you to access the map data without a cell phone connection and still know exactly where you are! Even though your phone is not connected to cell service or internet, the GPS will still work without incurring any “roaming” charges. 

Pretty cool, huh? I’ll show you exactly how we did this for the Walker’s Haute Route below.

 

Walker’s Haute Route Maps – What we provide

For those looking for Walker’s Haute Route GPS resources, we offer a complete GPS digital download for just $4.99. Included you’ll get access to both .gpx and .kml files for the entire Walker’s Haute Route along with common alternate routes and waypoints of all of the stops along the traditional, 13-day itinerary.

BUY NOW BUY NOW

These custom maps can be used on Android and Apple devices and works with both paid and free GPS navigation apps.

Which app should I use?

There are two main offline GPS navigation apps that we recommend for the Walker’s Haute Route:

Maps.me and Gaia GPS. The main difference between the two apps is that Maps.me is free to download and use, but has limited base maps. On the other hand, Gaia GPS requires a $19.99 annual subscription to use but has superior offline base maps and more robust navigational tools. Check out the comparison below to see how a specific section of the Walker’s Haute Route displays in each of the apps.

Comparison of Maps.me and Gaia GPS for the Walker's Haute Route

Comparison of Maps.me and Gaia GPS for the Walker’s Haute Route.

As shown above, Maps.me is great for displaying the route as well as the stopping points along the trek. However, when you look at the same section of trail displayed in Gaia GPS you can see much more information including adjacent trails, elevation shading, and a more detailed view of your surroundings. 

For this reason, we highly recommend you invest the $20 to use Gaia GPS. Of course, we certainly understand that many readers will prefer to use the free option of Maps.me instead. Given this, we’ve included instructions for downloading and accessing the Walker’s Haute Route GPS data for both Maps.me and Gaia GPS below. 

Gaia GPS for the Walker’s Haute Route

The instructions below provide a step-by-step guide for downloading and accessing the custom Walker’s Haute Route GPS data we’ve created in Gaia GPS.

Step One – Download the Walker’s Haute Route GPS file

When you purchase our Walker’s Haute Route GPS download, you’ll get a link for the GPS file included in your order confirmation email. You’ll want to be sure to open the email and download the .GPX file directly onto your phone (as opposed to on another device) to simplify the process. After completing the download you’ll be prompted to open the file in Gaia GPS, which you should do.

Gaia GPS will then import the data and you should see the Walker’s Haute Route and waypoints displayed on the map.

Success! You’ve imported the Walker’s Haute Route GPS data in Gaia GPS.

Step Two – Choose your map source

Next, you’ll want to select your base map. This will be the background map that you will eventually download and use to navigate while hiking, even without cell phone service. There are tons of background maps available for download, but we highly recommend the “Outdoor” layer for those hiking the Walker’s Haute Route. To choose this map source, simply select the layers icon in the top right corner and then select ‘Outdoors’.

Step Three – Navigate to the Walker’s Haute Route and download your background map

Once you have selected the “Outdoor” base map, you’ll need to download the entire area of the Walker’s Haute Route. Remember, without downloading this data you’ll have no way to know your exact location on the trail when you don’t have cell phone service. To download the background map data, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the area of the Walker’s Haute Route in Gaia GPS
  2. Select the ‘Create’ button (circle with a plus sign in the upper right hand corner)
  3. Select ‘Download Map’
  4. Draw a rectangle with your finger that encompasses the entire trek
  5. Set the ‘Max Zoom’ to 17
  6. Name your map ‘Walker’s Haute Route’ and select ‘Save’
  7. Allow the download to complete and you’re done! (you’ll want to be connected to WiFi for this)

 

That’s it! Now you’re all set to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route like a pro with an offline GPS map in Gaia GPS. You can now zoom in on specific sections, view trail segments, and see all of the stops along the route!

Using the Gaia GPS app on the trail

The final step to successfully navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route is to know how to utilize the Gaia GPS app when you are out on the trail. To view your current location, simply select the location button on the top menu. At this point your phone will activate its GPS, and (providing you have a fairly clear view of the sky) in a few moments it will show you exactly where you are by displaying a yellow arrow.

Use this feature whenever you want to see how far you’ve gone, how much further you have left until your next stop, or if a fork in the trail has you questioning the correct way.  

NOTE: The yellow arrow shows you where you are, but will not necessarily point towards the direction you are actually facing. This is important to remember when you are orienting yourself!

 

Maps.me for the Walker’s Haute Route

The instructions below show a step-by-step guide for downloading and accessing the custom Walker’s Haute Route GPS data we’ve created in Maps.me.

Maps.me is an excellent free navigation app that allows you to download offline background data. As we noted above, downloading background data is the the key to successfully utilizing GPS to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route. The primary shortcoming of  using Maps.me for navigation while trekking is the limited base map data. You won’t find detailed topographic lines, terrain shading, or other helpful features. However, we know that many trekkers will be just fine with Maps.me and you can’t beat the price!

Here is your step-by-step guide to utilizing our Walker’s Haute Route GPS data with Maps.me:

Step One – Download the Walker’s Haute Route GPS file

When you purchase our Walker’s Haute Route GPS data, you’ll get a link for the GPS file included in your order confirmation email. You’ll want to be sure to open the email and download the .KML file directly onto your phone to simplify the process. After completing the download you’ll be prompted to open the file in Maps.me, which you’ll want to go ahead and do.

 

After opening the GPS file with Maps.me, the app will navigate to your current location and will also display a message stating that your bookmarks have successfully been loaded. You’ll need to move the map from your current location to the Walker’s Haute Route and verify that you see the track and waypoints displayed.

 

 

Step Two – Download the Walker’s Haute Route background maps

Once you have successfully loaded the Walker’s Haute Route GPS data, you’ll need to download the entire area surrounding the trek as a base map in Maps.me. Remember, without downloading this data you’ll have no way to know where exactly you are on the trail. To download the background map data in Maps.me, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the area of the Walker’s Haute Route in Maps.me
  2. Zoom in on the trail until the app prompts you to download a map region
  3. You’ll need to download two distinct regions in Maps.me to cover the entire Haute Route. They are:
    1. Haute-Savoie
    2. Lake Geneva Region
  4. Continue to zoom in on different segments of the trail until you have downloaded both of these regions
  5. Verify that you’ve downloaded all of the required base maps by navigating to the ‘Download Maps’ menu.
  6. Once you’ve checked that both regions have been successfully downloaded you’re all done!

 

To verify that you’ve successfully downloaded both of the required base map regions in Maps.me follow these steps:

  1. Select the ‘Menu’ in the bottom right hand corner of the screen
  2. Select ‘Download Maps’
  3. Verify that you have downloads in France and Switzerland
  4. Select each country and verify that you have the following maps downloaded:
    1. Haute-Savoie (France)
    2. Lake Geneva Region (Switzerland)

That’s it! You’re all set to navigate on the Walker’s Haute Route like a pro with an offline GPS map utilizing Maps.me. You can now zoom in on specific sections, view trail segments, and see all of the stops along the route!

 

A note on battery life

One of the easiest ways for the app-navigation method to go awry is for your phone battery to die. I recommend two strategies to help prevent an unexpected dead battery from sabotaging your trip. The first is to ensure that you always exit the app before locking your phone. This will prevent the app from continually locating you, and thus draining your battery. You can also keep your phone on “airplane mode” to prevent it from wasting battery life while searching for cell service.

The second way to prevent a dead battery from causing problems is to carry a backup battery system. These are relatively inexpensive and are worth their weight in gold when you find yourself with a dying battery. I like the Anker PowerCore 20100, but any decent option should do.

Keep Reading

Be sure to check out all of our Walker’s Haute Route posts here.

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The Complete Guide to Camping in Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota, is one of the America’s most unique National Parks. The stunning landscape of sand colored buttes, towering rock formations, and one of…

Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota, is one of the America’s most unique National Parks. The stunning landscape of sand colored buttes, towering rock formations, and one of the United State’s largest areas of grassland prairie make this a truly unique place to visit. We think the best way to experience all that the Badlands has to offer is by spending the night in your tent or RV where you’ll feel as close to this stunning landscape as possible.

Badlands National Park and the surrounding area have tons of options for camping from the two campgrounds located in the park to remote backcountry camping and plenty of nearby campgrounds only a short drive from the National Park.

Keep reading to get all the details about camping at Badlands National Park!

Landscape of Badlands National Park

Pitching your tent in Badlands National Park is an experience not to be missed!

 

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Badlands National Park Campgrounds

There are several options for those looking to camp inside Badlands National Park. The large and well equipped Cedar Pass Campground is perfect for those with an RV or who prefer more services, while more remote car camping is available at the Sage Creek Campground, and the entire National Park is open to backcountry camping for those with a sense of adventure!

The map below gives you a general sense of where each of the campgrounds are located in Badlands National Park as well as their relation to the surrounding area. Keep reading for detailed information on all your options.

Map of campsites at Badlands National Park

Car camping options in Badlands National Park. Map courtesy of NPS.

 

Looking for more Badlands National Park maps? Check out our Maps & Resources article for the Badlands here.

Reservations

Reservations are required only for the Cedar Pass Campground located adjacent to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center on the eastern edge of the park. While reservations are not required here, we recommend reserving your spot if traveling during the peak summer season. The campground is not managed by the National Park Service, so you’ll need to reserve directly through the Cedar Pass Lodge website below.

Reservations for the Cedar Pass Campground can be made here

For all of the other camping options in Badlands National Park you do not need to (and cannot) make a reservation. For backcountry/backpacking campsites you do not need a permit, but should contact the rangers at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to notify them of your plans.

There is no permit or reservation required for camping at the Sage Creek campsite, but all of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

What to bring on your Badlands National Park Camping trip

Preparing for your Badlands National Park camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tent, sleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping in the Badlands:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect for Sage Creek Campground where fires are prohibited.
  • Pop-up canopy – The sun in this part of South Dakota can get intense! You won’t find much shade at either campground, so we recommend bringing a portable shade structure to create your own!
  • Portable water container – Especially useful for Sage Creek, which does not have a water source, these portable water containers are a life saver.
  • Cooler – The hot summer temperatures make a good cooler essential. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Badlands National Park Map – An essential for any trip, a good map is a must.
  • Badlands Guidebook – A good guidebook will provide insights and information to help you plan your perfect trip to Badlands. We like this guide to all 62 National Parks from Moon Guides.

Car camping sites in Badlands National Park

There are two options for those looking to car camp in Badlands National Park: the Cedar Pass Campground and the more basic sites at the Sage Creek Campground.

Cedar Pass Campground

Number of Sites: 96 campsites (four of which are group sites for up to 26 people)
Fee: $23/night for a tent site (2 people) // $38/night for RV site with electricity (2 people) // $40/night for a group site (10 people)
RVs: Yes
More Information
Click Here to Reserve or call (605)-433-5460

Cedar Pass Campground - Badlands National Park

The Cedar Pass Campground will give you great access to Badlands National Park.

 

The Cedar Pass Campground is part of the large Cedar Pass Lodge located just inside the Badlands National Park boundaries. The campground is adjacent to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, the main entrance to the National Park. The Cedar Pass lodge was established prior to the creation of Badlands National Park, and is not managed by the National Park Service. 

Cedar Pass Campground has a total of 96 campsites that can accommodate tents and RVs in addition to four larger group sites that can accommodate up to 26 people each.  The campground is well organized with tremendous views of the surrounding National Park.

The campground is part of the larger Cedar Pass Lodge complex which provides campers with easy access to restrooms, a small souvenir shop, potable water, trash and recycling services and an on-site restaurant. The RV sites are electric only, although there is a dump site nearby. Fires are not allowed at the Cedar Pass Campground.

The Cedar Pass Campground is very popular given its excellent location at the entrance to Badlands National Park. Given the popularity of this campground, we highly recommend making a reservation here during the peak summer season. Since the campground is not affiliated with the National Park Service, you’ll need to make a reservation directly through the Cedar Pass Lodge website well in advance.

Sage Creek Campground

Number of Sites: 22 campsites
Fee: Free
Capacity: Not regulated
RVs: Yes, up to 18′. Horse trailers are exempt from 18′ limit.
Reservations: First come, first served
More Information

Bison near Sage Creek Campground in Badlands National Park.

You’re likely to have bison for neighbors at the Sage Creek Campground in Badlands National Park!

 

The Sage Creek Campground is located in the northwestern portion of Badlands National Park along the unpaved Sage Creek Road. The campground is approximately 15 miles from the closest town of Scenic, South Dakota. Camping at the Sage Creek Campground will appeal to those who are in search of a more solitude than you’ll find at the Cedar Pass Campground.

The 22 designated campsites at the Sage Creek Campground are all reserved on first come, first served basis, so be sure to arrive early in the day during peak season. The campground is free of charge and features pit toilets and picnic tables for your use and enjoyment.

The Sage Creek Campground does not have a water source, so you’ll need to bring all the water you anticipate needing with you. As with all of Badlands National Park, fires are not allowed due to the sensitive nature of the surrounding environment.

The Sage Creek Wilderness

The Sage Creek Campground makes a perfect jumping off point for exploring the surrounding wilderness.

 

Backcountry campsites in Badlands National Park

Number of Sites: Not restricted
Fee: Free
Capacity: Not restricted
RVs: No
Reservations: Not required, but please register with the NPS prior to setting out
More Information

Exploring the backcountry is an incredible way to experience Badlands National Park.

 

Badlands National Park presents the opportunity for a true adventure for those interested in backcountry camping and backpacking. The entire National Park is open to those looking for backcountry camping as long as you set-up camp at least 0.5 miles from a trail or road and are not visible from a road. While this presents a great opportunity to find some solitude, there are several factors to consider when planning a backpacking trip in Badlands National Park. 

First and foremost always contact the National Park Service at either the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, Pinnacles Entrance Station or White River Visitor Center prior to starting your trek. The rangers will be able to provide invaluable insights into the terrain, recommend routes, and advise you on the conditions you are likely to encounter. Additionally, it is important to notify them of your planned route in case an emergency arises and they need to find or reach your group.

It is very important to notify the NPS of your backpacking plans given the rugged nature of the terrain in Badlands National Park.

 

Read More: The Best Hikes in Badlands National Park

Given the wilderness nature of Badlands National Park it is imperative to carry a detailed map and know how to navigate utilizing a map and compass. We highly recommend bringing a copy of the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Topo Map for Badlands National Park on any backpacking trip in the Badlands. Additionally, trekkers need to be prepared to carry in all of their own water, as there are no suitable water sources available in the National Park. The National Park Service recommends backpackers plan to carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.

Given the sensitive nature of the grassland prairie and surrounding ecosystem of the Badlands it is essential that you practice Leave No Trace principles when backpacking in Badlands National Park. This includes packing out all of your own trash and property disposing of your waste. Fires are not permitted in the backcountry and you’ll need to leave your pets at home as they are not allowed in the National Park. 

Map of backcountry camping in Badlands National Park

The Deer Haven Trail and Sage Creek area are popular backpacking destinations. Map courtesy of NPS.

 

The National Park Service recommends two specific areas of Badlands National Park for backcountry camping: the Deer Haven Trail near the Conata Picnic area and the wilderness located adjacent to the Sage Creek Rim Road.

The Deer Haven Trail is not an official hiking trail, but rather a well worn path that leaves from Conata Picnic area. The route takes you a few miles into the backcountry were a number of camping areas are available. Along the Sage Creek Rim Road there are plenty of opportunities to head into the backcountry following social trails and wildlife paths. You’re likely to encounter bison in this area of the National Park so always be sure to give them their distance!

 

Here are some key things to keep in mind when planning to stay at any of these backpacking areas in Badlands National Park:

  • Pets are not allowed
  • No campfires
  • You must bring all of your own water
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles
  • Be aware of wildlife
  • Exercise caution when hiking since you will not be on a formal trail

If you follow these guidelines and plan accordingly you’re sure to have a great experience backpacking in this untamed wilderness!

Badlands National Park Camping Must Know

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to ensure you have a great time camping in Badlands National Park.

Fires

Fires are prohibited at all the camping options inside Badlands National Park. The ecosystem of the area is highly susceptible to damage and wildfires, so please respect this rule and do not have any type of campfire during your stay.

Campfires are not allowed at any of the campgrounds in Badlands National Park.

 

Wildlife

A diversity of wildlife inhabits Badlands National Park. This includes the iconic prairie dwelling bison, bighorn sheep, and the quintessential prairie dog. Badlands is also home to one of the most endangered animals in the world, the black-footed ferret. In addition to these mammals, you’ll also find rattlesnakes, turtles, and a variety of bird species. 

For those camping, you’ll primarily want to be vigilant about keeping a safe distance from roaming bison and keep a close eye out for rattlesnakes. If backpacking, be sure to wear long pants to and be on the lookout for prairie dog holes which can leave you with a nasty sprained ankle.

 

Bighorn sheep in Badlands National Park

Bighorn sheep in Badlands National Park.

 

Pets

Pets are allowed at both the Cedar Pass Campground as well as the Sage Creek Campground within Badlands National Park. You’ll need to have control over them at all times and they must be kept on a leash at all times. Also, be sure to pick up after them and properly dispose of their waste.

Pets are not allowed at any of the backcountry sites in Badlands National Park, so you’ll want to leave them at home if you’re venturing into the backcountry.

 

Where to get supplies

The best place to stock up on camping supplies before heading to Badlands National Park is Rapid City, South Dakota. Rapid City is about 1.5 hours from the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and about 1.25 hours from the Sage Creek Campground. While this isn’t especially close to the National Park, Rapid City has all the amenities and services you’ll need to prepare for a great camping trip including grocery stores, liquor stores, and outdoor stores. Here are your best options for where to stock up:

  • Groceries: Safeway (730 Mountain View Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702)
  • Outdoor store: Roam’n Around (512 Main St #140, Rapid City, SD 57701)

If you’re looking to stock up a bit closer to the National Park your best get will be the town of Interior, South Dakota. Interior is located only about a 10-minute drive from the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and has basic services such as a small grocery store and gas station.

 

Camping near Badlands National Park

Given the popularity and scarcity of options, it is always possible that you won’t be able to find a campground within Badlands National Park. However, don’t give up as there are plentiful camping options just outside the National Park boundary!

For those looking to explore some of the other highlights of South Dakota and the Black Hills, check out our other camping guides:

There are plentiful camping options near Badlands National Park.

 

RV campgrounds near Badlands National Park

Those camping in an RV will have plenty of options just outside Badlands National Park. These campgrounds will be your best bet when Cedar Pass and Sage Creek are full, or if your RV/trailer is longer than 18′ (the limit at Sage Creek). Here are our recommended options for RV camping outside of Badlands National Park:

Badlands Interior Campground

Number of Sites: 34 RV sites (with hookup), 27 tent only sites, 16 RV (no hookup)/tent sites, 4 group sites
Fee: RV sites ($23.61 – $37.07/night) // tent sites ($26.06/night)
Capacity: Max of 6 adults per site /  more for group sites
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Badland Interior Campground is just over 1 mile from the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and entrance to the National Park, making it the closet option. The large site features plenty of RV sites with multiple hookup options as well as tent sites, teepees, and camping cabins. The campground has tons of amenities such as a pool, free WiFi, a small shop, as well as an on-site restaurant.

Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park

Number of Sites: 57 RV sites, 20 tent sites
Fee: RV sites $43/night // tent sites $28/night
Capacity: Not stated
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park is located north of Badlands National Park in the town on Wall, South Dakota. This well-equipped campground makes a great place to camp for those looking to explore the Sage Creek area of the National Park, or who prefer to stay along Interstate 90. The campground has plenty of capacity for RVs and features a pool, dog park, playground, and basketball hoop. Wall has many amenities that are great for camping near the National Park including a grocery store.

 

Car camping sites near Badlands National Park

If you’re looking for car camping sites near Badlands National Park you’ll have a few good options to choose from. In addition to the French Creek Campground listed below, car camping is permitted and recommend at both of the campgrounds listed in the RV camping section above.  Keep reading below to see what your best bets are for car camping near the Badlands.

Car camping near Badlands National Park

Car camping near Badlands National Park.

 

French Creek Campground

Number of Sites: 7 sites
Fee: Free
Capacity: Not stated
RVs: Yes
Reservations: First come, first served
Pets: Allowed.
More Information

The French Creek Campground is located near the South Unit of Badlands National Park and provides for a great car camping experience. This is a semi-developed campground and features a vault toilet and a few picnic tables. The site does not have potable water, so you’ll want to be sure to bring your own.

 

Dispersed campsites

Your final option for camping near Badlands National Park is to find a free, dispersed campsite on the adjacent Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Buffalo Gap is managed by the Forest Service/BLM which manages hundreds of thousands of acres of land throughout the country and generally allows for ‘dispersed camping’ on it. You can find more information on dispersed camping on BLM land here.

There are some fantastic dispersed campsite just outside of Badlands National Park.

 

The Buffalo Gap National Grassland encompasses a huge area surrounding Badlands National Park, so you’ll want to have some idea of where you are headed. If you’re looking to camp on the west side of the National Park we recommend reaching out to the Fall River Ranger District in Hot Springs, SD to confirm current camping regulations. If you’re looking to spend a night or two on the north or east side of the National Park you’ll want to check-in with the Wall Ranger District.

You can’t go wrong with either locations, and here are your best bets for great dispersed camping near Badlands National Park:

Badlands Boondocking/Overlook Dispersed Camping

The so-called Badlands Boondocking dispersed camping area is located just north of the National Park on State Highway 240, which connects the Badlands to the town of Wall, SD. The camping area is approximately 3 miles north of the Pinnacles Entrance to Badlands National Park. From State Highway 240 there are plenty of options for great campsites, including the spectacular ‘Wall’ sites that overlook the National Park. Keep an eye out for a dirt road leading to three radio towers from Highway 240 and you’ll know you’re in the correct place. This site has some great intel on the area.

You’ll need to bring all of your own water and also be prepared to properly deal with your waste at this site, as there are no facilities. BLM regulations on dispersed camping allow you to camp for up to 14 days in a 28 day period, so be sure to observe that limit at this site.

It is especially important to practice Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping.

Have a great trip!

That’s it! We hope you’ve found all of the information on camping in Badlands National Park in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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The Complete Guide to Camping in Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of Colorado’s most iconic landscapes. The stunning sand dunes, some up to 700 feet tall (!), are set against the…

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of Colorado’s most iconic landscapes. The stunning sand dunes, some up to 700 feet tall (!), are set against the spectacular backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. We think the best way to experience the dunes is to spend a night or two under the stars in your tent. There are tons of options for camping in the Great Sand Dunes National Park from RV spots and family-friendly car camping sites to beautiful backcountry sites and rugged sites that can only be accessed via 4WD roads.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about camping at the Great Sand Dunes!

 

In this post

Great Sand Dunes National Park Campgrounds

You’ll have several options available if you’re looking to camp inside the Great Sand Dunes National Park. There is the easily accessible Piñon Flats Campground for those looking to car camp or park their RV, camping for those with a well-equipped 4WD vehicle along Medano Pass Primitive Road, and hike-in backcountry sites in the dunes as well as the surrounding mountains.

Take a look at the map below to get a sense of where the different camping options are in the National Park and keep reading to learn more about each campground.

Map of campgrounds in Great Sand Dunes National Park

Car camping options in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Map courtesy of NPS.

 

Reservations & Permits

Reservations are required only for the Piñon Flats Campground located at the entrance to the park. If you’re thinking about camping here during peak summer season (or anytime Medano Creek is flowing) you’ll almost certainly need to have a reservation.

Reservations for Piñon Flats Campground can be made here via Recreation.gov

For all of the other camping options in the Great Sand Dunes you do not need to (and cannot) make a reservation. For backcountry/backpacking campsites you’ll need to obtain a free permit from the Visitor Center before setting out.  Note that all permits are made available on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get there early!

There is no permit required for camping along Medano Pass Primitive Road, but all of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

What to bring on your Great Sand Dunes National Park Camping trip

Preparing for your Great Sand Dunes National Park camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping in the Sand Dunes:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect for both campers at both the Piñon Flats Campground as well as the primitive sites along Medano Pass Road.
  • Pop-up canopy – The sun in this part of Colorado can get intense! You won’t find much shade at Piñon Flats, so we recommend bringing a portable shade structure to create your own!
  • Portable water container – Save yourself from constant trips to the water tap and bring one of these. Especially useful for camping on Medano Pass Road.
  • Cooler – The hot summer temperatures make a good cooler essential. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park Map – An essential for any trip, a good map is a must.
  • Great Sand Dunes Guidebook – A good guidebook will provide insights and information to help you plan your perfect trip to the Sand Dunes.  We like this hiking guide from Falcon Guides.

Car camping sites

There are two options for those looking to car camp in Great Sand Dunes National Park: Piñon Flats Campground and the more basic sites along Medano Pass Primitive Road.

Piñon Flats Campground

Number of Sites: 88 individual (up to eight people) and 3 group (15-40 people)
Fee: $20/night (more for group sites)
Capacity: Up to eight people, two tents, and two vehicles at the individual sites
RVs: Yes, maximum length of 25′
More Information
Click Here to Reserve

Piñon Flats Campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park

Piñon Flats Campground. Photo credit NPS/Patrick Myers.

 

The Piñon Flats Campground is a large, sprawling campground located just past the visitor center when you first enter the National Park. The site sits adjacent to Medano Creek and makes a perfect option for those looking for easy access and plenty of nearby services.

Piñon Flats has a total of 88 campsites for small groups & RVs as well as three larger group sites that can accommodate between 15-40 people. The campground is well organized with two loops serving the 88 individual sites and another loop serving the three group sites.

The campground has plenty of restrooms, a small campground shop, potable water,  and trash and recycling services. There is also an RV dump station nearby in the summer months.

For those arriving in an RV, keep in mind that the Piñon Flats Campground can only accommodate RVs and trailers that are less than 25′ long. If yours is longer, you will be better off staying at one of the many nearby campgrounds that can accommodate larger RVs.

The Piñon Flats Campground is extremely popular during spring and early summer when Medano Creek is flowing, so reservations are essential. As with all National Park campgrounds, you’ll need to make a reservation through the Recreation.gov website well in advance.

The campground can be reserved up to six months in advance (which is recommended for popular times) and remember that Recreation.gov opens availability at 10 am Eastern Time six months out – so be sure you’re ready!

Piñon Flats Campground Great Sand Dunes National Park

Piñon Flats Campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Photo credit NPS/Patrick Myers.

 

Medano Pass Primitive Road 4WD campsites

Number of Sites: 21 campsites – please camp at designed sites only!
Fee: Free
Capacity: Not regulated
RVs: No
Reservations: First come, first served
More Information

Medano Pass connects the Great Sand Dunes National Park with State Highway 69. The road is only passable by well-equipped 4WD vehicles. It is important to note that AWD vehicles will not do well on this road! For those who have a properly equipped vehicle, Medano Pass Primitive Road offers some excellent campsites that provide more solitude than what you’ll find at Piñon Flats Campground.

Medan Pass Primitive Road Camping

Medano Pass Primitive Road opens yours options for camping in the National Park. Photo credit: NPS/Patrick Myers.

 

The 21 designated campsite along Medano Pass are all contained within the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve (as opposed to the National Park) and begin approximately 5.2 miles from where the pavement ends along the main road through the Park. Each campground is numbered according to how many miles it is from the entrance to the National Preserve.

Each of the campsites along Medano Pass road includes a bear box to store your food and many have fire rings. Fires are generally allowed, but be sure to check-in at the visitor center as fire bans can be in place at any time. There are no restrooms or trash facilities along Medano Pass, so always be sure to bury your waste (at least 100′ from the nearest water source!) and pack out all of your trash. Water can occasionally be drawn from Medano Creek, but must be treated. We recommend bringing all of the water you’ll need for your stay with you.

Medano Pass Primitive Road Camping - Great Sand Dunes National Park

Medano Pass Primitive Road Campsites. Map courtesy of the National Park Service.

 

Backcountry campsites

Number of Sites: 7 campsites + dunefield
Fee: Free
Capacity: 6 people per permit/group / 2 vehicles per group
RVs: No
Reservations: First come, first served – permit required
More Information

For those in search of a true wilderness experience, backpacking in Great Sand Dunes National Park is the way to go! The National Park has seven designated backcountry campsites and also allows camping anywhere in the 30 square mile dunefield for a maximum of 20 groups, with no more than six people per group.

Dunefield camping - Great Sand Dunes

Camping in the dunefield at Great Sand Dunes National Park is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

 

For both the dunefiled camping as well as the designated backcountry sites you’ll need to get a free permit from the Visitor Center upon arrival, beginning at 9am. Backcountry camping permits in Great Sand Dunes National Park are first-come, first-served so you’ll want to be sure you’re there early, especially on busy weekends.

Great Sand Dunes National Park Dunefield Backcountry Camping:

For those interested in backpacking in the Dunefield, you’ll have nearly 30 square miles to explore and camp. The dunefield is split into two zones by the National Park Service: Day-use areas and the backcountry zone. The map below gives you a sense of the different areas, and you’ll be able to camp in the backcountry zone only. The Park Service estimates it is an approximate 1.5 mile minimum hike into the dunefield. Some other important considerations:

  • Pets are not allowed
  • You’ll need to carry in all of your own water
  • No fires are allowed (except camping stoves)
  • Keep a close eye on the weather as you’ll want to avoid severe thunderstorms and high winds
  • Bring a bear canister or other food storage to protect your food from wildlife
  • The NPS recommends sand specific tent stakes.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles

Great Sand Dunes National Park Backpacking

Backcountry dunefield zone in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Map courtesy of NPS.

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park Backcountry Camping – Mountains:

In addition the dunefield, you’ll also have the ability to camp at one of seven designated backcountry camping sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park. These seven campsites are all located along the Sand Ramp Trail and offer a more protected camping option for those who aren’t interested in the dunefield. The seven campsites range in distance from 0.5 miles to 11.5 miles from the Piñon Flats Campground and the start of the Sand Ramp Trail.

Great Sand Dunes National Park backpacking

Backpacking is an incredible way to experience Great Sand Dunes National Park.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning to stay at any of these backpacking sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park:

  • Plan to bring a bear canister or other secure food storage
  • Pets are not allowed
  • No campfires (with the exception of the Sand Creek site)
  • Water can be scarce, plan to carry in what you need
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles

Great Sand Dunes National Park backpacking map

Map of backcountry campsites in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Map courtesy of NPS.

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park Camping Must-Know

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to ensure you have a great time camping in Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Fires

Fires are allowed at the Piñon Flats Campground as well as the sites along Medano Pass Primitive Road. Campfires are not allowed in the backcountry dunefield area or at the designed backcountry campsites with the exception of the Sand Creek backcountry site.

Campfire at Great Sand Dunes.

Campfires are generally permitted in the car camping sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park.

 

If you do decide to have a fire it is important to always use firewood that is sourced locally. This helps prevent the spread of disease and preserves the natural habitat of the National Park. Harvesting of firewood is not allowed in any National Park, Great Sand Dunes included.

Before having a fire, always be sure to check-in with the staff at the Visitor Center for current regulations.

Wildlife

A variety of wildlife calls the Great Sand Dunes National Park home. This includes commonly seen deer and elk as well as the more rare black bears, mountain lions, and the dune-dwelling kangaroo mouse. For those camping, you’ll primarily need to be concerned with protecting your food from small rodents such as mice and chipmunks. However, bears do visit the campgrounds occasionally, so it is imperative that you’ve properly stored your food.

The campsites along Medano Pass Primitive Road and at Pinon Flats all provide food storage lockers. Those camping in the backcountry will need to bring a bear canister or be prepared to properly hang your food in a tree.

It is also important to note that ticks are frequently found in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Be sure to always check yourself and pets after any time spent hiking, especially if you’ve been in tall grasses.

Elk herd in Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Elk frequent Great Sand Dunes National Park. Photo credit: NPS/Patrick Myers

 

Pets

Pets are allowed at both the Piñon Flats Campground as well as the sites along Medano Pass Primitive Road. You’ll need to have control over them at all times and we recommend that you keep them on a leash to avoid any issues. Also, be sure to pick up after them and properly dispose of their waste.

Pets are not allowed at any of the backcountry sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park, so you’ll want to leave them at home if you’re venturing into the backcountry.

As noted above, always be sure to check your pets for ticks as they are common in the Sand Dunes.

Where to get supplies

The best place to stock up on camping supplies near Great Sand Dunes National Park is in nearby Alamosa. This small town of around 11,000 people is approximately 30 minutes southwest from the National Park. There you’ll find major grocery stores such as Safeway and City Market as well as a few good outdoor stores. Here are your best options for where to stock up before your camping trip in Great Sand Dunes National Park:

 

Camping near Great Sand Dunes National Park

Given the popularity of Great Sand Dunes National Park, it is always possible that you won’t be able to find a campsite within the National Park. However, that doesn’t mean your trip is doomed! There are plentiful camping options just outside of the Great Sand Dunes that still provide easy access to the National Park. We’ve shared the best options below.

You’ll have easy access to Great Sand Dunes National Park from any of the camping options below.

 

If you’re looking to check out any of the other Colorado National Parks or National Monuments, but sure to take a look at our other camping guides below:

 

RV campgrounds

Those camping in an RV will have plenty of options just outside the Great Sand Dunes National Park. These campgrounds will be your best bet when Pinon Flats is full, or if your RV/trailer is longer than 25′. Here are our recommended options for RV camping outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park:

Great Sand Dunes Oasis

Number of Sites: 20 RV sites, plenty of basic tent camping sites
Fee: RV sites ($38/night for two people) // tent sites ($25/night for two people)
Capacity: Up to 10 per site /  more for group sites
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended for RV spots, not required for tent sites.
Pets: Allowed.
More Information

Great Sand Dunes Oasis is the closest campground to Great Sand Dunes National Park that is not actually located within the park. This large campground is located along State Highway 150 as you approach the National Park, and is only about a 3-minute drive from the park entrance.

It features an on-site restaurant, small shop carrying basic groceries, gas station, as well as cabins and motel rooms for rent.

KOA Alamosa Campground

Number of Sites: Plenty!
Fee: $25 – $75/night depending on RV size
Capacity: No stated limit
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended
Pets: Allowed, but must be on a leash at all times.
More Information

The KOA Alamosa campground is located on the east end of Alamosa and about a 25-minute drive from the entrance to the Great Sand Dunes. This campground can accommodate large RVs and also provides guests with access to a pool, free WiFi, a dog park, and a small on-site shop.

The KOA is more expensive than Great Sand Dunes Oasis, but it has excellent reviews and plenty of nearby amenities.

Car camping sites

If you’re looking for car camping sites near the Great Sand Dunes National Park you’ll have a few good options to choose from. Some are more basic than others and you’ll even have the option for some full-on glamping! Keep reading below to see what your best bets are for car camping near the Sand Dunes.

Car camping

 

Zapata Falls Campground

Number of Sites: 23 individual  and 1 group site
Fee: $11/night for individual sites and $25/night for group sites
Capacity: Up to 6 people per individual site and up to 15 people for the group site.
RVs: No
Reservations: First come, first served
Pets: Allowed
More Information

The Zapata Falls Campground is located east of State Highway 150 as it approaches the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The campground is around 30 minutes from the entrance to the National Park. The campground has a vault toilet and has access to several excellent trailheads. Keep in mind that there is no water at Zapata Falls, so you’ll need to bring your own water.

Rustic Rook Resort

The Rustic Rook Resort is unlike any of the other campgrounds included in this guide – it is a full-fledged glamping experience! The resort is located approximately 20 minutes from the entrance to the National Park. You won’t need your own tent here as you’ll instead be sleeping in your very own glamping tent with space for 2 – 4 people. Prices start at $150/night so this is definitely not for budget-minded travelers!

More Information

The Rustic Rook Resort offers a glamping experience just 20 minutes from the Great Sand Dunes.

 

Dispersed campsites near the Great Sand Dunes

Your final option for camping near the Great Sand Dunes National Park is to find a free, dispersed campsite on the adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The BLM manages hundreds of thousands of acres of land throughout the country and generally allows for ‘dispersed camping’ on it. You can find more information on dispersed camping on BLM land here.

Dispersed camping near Great Sand Dunes

 

Before heading out with a plan to look for dispersed camping near the Great Sand Dunes National Park we recommend reaching out to the Conejos Peak Ranger District to confirm current camping regulations. They can be reached at (719) 480-9892.

Lake Como Road/Sacred White Shell Mountain – BLM sites

The Lake Como Road/Sacred White Shell Mountain dispersed camping area is located east of State Highway 150 as you approach the Sand Dunes. The campsite is located approximately 25 minutes from the entrance to the National Park. You’ll need to bring all of your own water and also be prepared to properly deal with your waste at this site, as there are no facilities. BLM regulations on dispersed camping allow you to camp for up to 14 days in a 28 day period, so be sure to observe that limit at this site.

It is especially important to practice Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping.

Have a great trip!

That’s it! We hope you’ve found all of the information on camping in Great Sand Dunes National Park in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

Piñon Flats Campground Great Sand Dunes National Park

Photo credit NPS/Patrick Myers.

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The Complete Guide to the Laugavegur Trail | Map, Routes, and Itineraries

The Laugavegur Trail offers the best of Icelandic trekking. Stunning waterfalls, brooding volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, powerful rivers, and deep canyons are just a few of the wonders you’ll discover…

The Laugavegur Trail offers the best of Icelandic trekking. Stunning waterfalls, brooding volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, powerful rivers, and deep canyons are just a few of the wonders you’ll discover on this hike. Traversing this spectacular region by foot is one of the best ways to experience the incredible diversity of landscapes that define Iceland.  This beauty combined with easy accessibility make the Laugavegur Trail one of the most popular hiking destinations in Iceland. Read on to learn how to plan for this epic trek!

This Laugavegur guide is designed to be the perfect planning companion for your own adventure. We’ve included everything you need to know to have a spectacular trip in one place, so you can be sure you’ve thought of everything.

Read it through in a single go or jump to a specific section below, but rest assured knowing you’ve found the best resource on the internet for planning your Tour du Mont Blanc trek.

Let’s get started!

Tents in Landmannalaugar, Iceland

 

Everything you need to to plan your Laugavegur Trek – all in one place.

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Laugavegur Trail Guide

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  • Complete packing list for campers and those staying in huts
  • Detailed information on getting to/from the Laugavegur
  • A 15-week training plan to ensure you’re prepared for your hike

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In this post

 

Laugavegur Trail: Must Know

The Laugavegur Trail connects the Landmannalaugar hot springs to the Þórsmörk (pronounced Thorsmork) river valley. The 55-kilometer (34-mile) trail crosses a wide diversity of landscapes, from rugged, volcanic peaks to vast black sand deserts to dayglow green hillsides.

Many hikers opt to extend their hike by taking the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, which connects Þórsmörk and Skogar via a very difficult 15-mile trek. While the two trails are technically separate, they can be easily combined into a longer, 48-mile hike.

Check out the map below to get a sense of the two hikes:

Map of the Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals Trail

Map of the Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals Trails. Click to enlarge.

 

The Laugavegur is traditionally completed in the southbound direction, but it is very possible to walk in the opposite direction. There is a network of mountain huts along the trail that provide walkers with stopping points at regular intervals. Camping is also permitted outside every hut along the Laugavegur. 

A hiker near a steam vent on Iceland's Laugavegur Trail

You’ll encounter otherworldly landscapes on the Laugavegur Trail.

 

How long is the Laugavegur Trail?

The short answer is that the Laugavegur Trail is 34 miles or 55-kilometers long as it makes its way across Iceland’s Highlands. However, trekkers should plan on walking a bit further than that on their own trip as you’re sure to take a few side trips to nearby mountains, explore small alternate route, and other detours that are sure to add a few miles to your trek.

Most hikers will cover the Laugavegur’s 34 miles  in 2-4 days for an average of between 8.5 – 17 miles per day. Be sure to check out our itinerary section below to help plan your own Laugavegur itinerary.

Laugavegur Trail Elevation Profile

The Laugavegur Trail is approximately 34 miles long. Add on the Fimmvorduhals Trail for another ~14 miles.

 

How long does it take to hike the Laugavegur Trail? 

The Laugavegur Trail can be walked in 2 – 4 days depending on your hiking ability, pace preferences, and weather conditions. If you’re interested in adding on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, plan on an additional 1 – 2 days of walking, plus an extra 978 meters of elevation gain (3,209 feet) and 24 kilometers (15 miles) of distance.

Keep in mind that snow crossings and/or inclement weather can impact your hiking pace. The itineraries provided later in this post give you a sense of the possibilities. Also, be sure to check out our interactive map and elevation profile for the route to get a comprehensive understanding of all of  your options!

Hikers enjoying the view on the Laugavegur Trail

Enjoying the spectacular views on the Laugavegur Trail.

When to hike the Laugavegur Trail

The weather in Iceland can be extremely harsh. No matter when you go, expect cold, wet, and windy conditions for a least some parts of your trek and pack accordingly.

We hiked in early July and had great weather throughout, although it was still very cold at times. Even though it was peak season, it wasn’t overly crowded on the trail if we got an early start.  With the right gear (check out our Laugavegur packing list for more on this topic), hikers can typically complete the walk from mid-June through early September. Make sure to always check with the hut wardens for the latest conditions and never attempt to hike through unsafe weather. 

  • June: This is considered “early summer” in Iceland, meaning there will typically be a significant amount of snow remaining on the trail. It will still be quite cold, especially in the first part of the month. If you plan on hiking in June, be sure to check with the huts in advance, as some don’t open until the end of the month. Also be prepared to pack crampons and know how to use them. 

 

  • July: This is peak season for the Laugavegur. Hikers will enjoy nearly 24 hours of daylight, and relatively milder weather (although snowstorms and bitter cold are possible any time of year). Expect more crowds on the trail, and be sure to reserve in advance if you plan on staying in huts. 

 

  • August: The first half of the month sees continued mild conditions and busy trails. During this time, the trail will be at its clearest in terms of snow, although large patches remain throughout the year. As the month wears on, the days get shorter and colder. The huts typically close for the season by the second week of September. 

A hiker walks through a large snow field on the Laugavegur Trail

You can still expect to encounter lots of snow on the Laugavegur in July!

How difficult is the Laugavegur Trail? 

As far as long-distance hiking trails go, the Laugavegur is very approachable in terms of difficulty. There are several factors that impact the challenge of this hike, including the distance covered in each day (see our itineraries for more on this), the weight of your backpack (it will be much larger if you choose to camp), the direction you hike in (there is significantly more uphill walking if you trek from south to north), and the weather and trail conditions.

Therefore, someone carrying camping gear and hiking northbound in two days will have a much different experience than someone staying in huts, heading southbound, and completing their trek in four days. Most reasonably fit hikers with some trekking experience will have no problem completing the Laugavegur in three days. 

River Crossings on the Laugavegur

You will encounter several river crossings along the Laugavegur Trail. These can very in depth from ankle deep all the way up to your waist depending on the time of year, recent rainfall, and weather conditions.

We can’t stress enough that you need to check with the wardens at each hut about the current condition of the rivers, and always cross in the designated areas. Also, you’ll want to bring a pair of sturdy sandals or other water shoes to make these crossing. Flip-flops will be pulled right off your feet by the swift currents and walking across barefoot is a dangerous endeavor.

 

A river crossing near the Alftavatn Hut.

River crossing after Álftavatn. Be prepared for lots of these!

 

Planning your perfect Laugavegur Trail trek

Now that you have a bit of background on the Laugavegur let’s get into the heart of what this guide is all about: helping you plan your perfect trek!

There are lots of things to think about so we’ve organized this guide into several sections. First, we’ll start with some basics such as which direction you should hike. Then we’ll dive into some more in-depth considerations such as designing your perfect itinerary and selecting your accommodation.

Let’s get started!

A hut on the Laugavegur

A little planning goes a long way to ensuring you have a great Laugavegur!

 

Which direction to hike the Laugavegur Trail

We hiked the Laugavegur from north to south and we’d certainly recommend traveling in this direction if you want to avoid some very long climbs and increase the chances of having the wind at your back.

If you decide to walk from south to north, expect a more challenging trek and plan for longer days on the trail. The “traditional” direction to hike is from north to south, but don’t expect to have the trail all to yourself if you go in the opposite direction. We saw several dozen hikers traveling northbound each day while we were out there.

Hikers in the distance

 

Accommodation on the Laugavegur Trail

The Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails feature an excellent system of mountain huts and campsites along the routes. Most of these are run by Ferðafélag Íslands (FI), which is the Icelandic Touring Association. Additionally, there are private campgrounds and huts located at Þórsmörk and the Fimmvörðuskáli Hut (along the Fimmvörðuháls Trail), as well as a privately-run hostel and hotel located at Skogar.

The following huts are located along the Laugavegur Trail:

The mountain huts along the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails provide basic communal sleeping quarters (bring your own sleeping bag), cooking facilities (you’ll need to bring your own food), bathrooms and showers (with the exception of Hrafntinnusker, which does not have showers) and are staffed by very knowledgeable wardens.

Additionally, the huts have small shops carrying some basic food items and trekking essentials. If you’re planning to stay in the huts along the Laugavegur Trail advance bookings are essential as the huts fill up quickly!

You can make your reservations here: Laugavegur Trail Hut Reservations.

All of the huts along the Laugavegur Trail cost 9,000 ISK per night, while the Fimmvörðuháls / Baldvinsskáli hut costs 7,000 ISK per night.

Ferðafélag Íslands publishes a very helpful Frequently Asked Questions page on the Laugavegur Trail huts here.

Hrafntinnusker Hut

Looking down on the hut at Hrafntinnusker along the Laugavegur Trail.

 

Camping on the Laugavegur Trail

In addition to the excellent hut system, camping is allowed at all the huts along the Laugavegur Trail. The campsites do not require any advance reservations and cost 2,000 ISK per night.

We always recommend camping as it provides an added layer of flexibility and an escape from the sometimes crowded huts! For an in-depth guide on camping check out our Guide to Camping on the Laugavegur Trail.

Please note that you must camp in the designated campsites! Wild camping is not permitted in Iceland.

Camping at Álftavatn on the Laugavegur Trail

Camping at Álftavatn on the Laugavegur.

 

Laugavegur Trail Itineraries

Now that you have a sense of which direction you’ll plan to hike in as well as which month you’ll embark of your trip it’s time to start thinking about your specific Laugavegur Trail itinerary!

As we’ve mentioned, the Laugavegur Trail can be walked in 2 – 4 days depending on your hiking ability, pace preferences, and weather conditions. If you’re interested in adding on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, plan on an additional 1 – 2 days of walking.

The following itineraries give you a sense of the possibilities. Even if you don’t want to add on the Fimmvörðuháls section, you can still use the first part of each itinerary to customize your hike for your desired time frame.  Also, be sure to check out our interactive map and elevation profile for the route to get a comprehensive understanding of all of  your options!

 

Click on the interactive map above to learn more about each of the stops on the trail!

Laugavegur Trail Elevation Profile

2-day Laugavegur Trail + 1-day Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Completing the Laugavegur Trail in 2-days with the option of adding the Fimmvörðuháls Trail on the third day is the fastest way to complete the walk. This is the itinerary we chose and found it to be quite enjoyable; there were certainly long days of walking, but still plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and sights.

2-day Laugavegur Trail itinerary

Day 1: Landmannalaugar to Hvangill (15.5 miles)

Starting your trek early from Landmannalaugar ,you’ll climb steadily along the well-marked trail  and eventually reach the first hut along the walk at Hrafntinnusker. Enjoy the spectacular view from the hut and be glad you’re not camping in this harsh location!

Continuing on from Hrafntinnusker you’ll enjoy a gentle downhill leading to a short but steep climb before a long descent to the hut and campground at Álftavatn, approximately 13-miles into your walk.

While it may be tempting to stop here, we highly recommend continuing on for another 2.5 miles to Hvangill to shorten your day tomorrow as well an enjoy the smaller and quieter hut at Hvangill.

Day 2: Hvangill to Þórsmörk (17.5 miles)

Get up early and prepare for a long, but lovely day on the trail! Leaving Hvangill, you’ll walk on an undulating trail before making the largest river-crossing of the Laugavegur Trail at Bláfjallakvísl. Take great care here, as the current moves fast and can water levels can typically reach thigh-high depths!

After crossing the Bláfjallakvísl River, the trail flattens out and you’ll walk through what seems like an endless black sand desert before reaching the hut and campground at Emstrur. Upon leaving Emstrur, you’ll soon come to a spectacular bridge over the Syðri-Emstruá River – take a moment to enjoy the incredible views!

From here, you’ll continue down the trail to a final river crossing before reaching the well-maintained hut and campground at Þórsmörk and the end of the Laugavegur Trail!

Optional Day 3: Fimmvörðuháls Trail to Skogar (15 miles)

Those who wish to add on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail to Skogar will want to get another early start for this epic walk!

Plan on 10-12 hours of walking to complete the Fimmvörðuháls Trail in a single day, and be sure to reward yourself with a beer once you reach Skogar! Climbing steeply out of Þórsmörk, the trail winds steadily uphill before passing between the two glaciers- Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

You’ll also witness firsthand the volcanic remnants of the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the youngest mountains in the world. The juxtaposition of jet black ash beneath blindingly white snow are simply magnificent.

As you start your descent, keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon. You’ll then begin the long trail down, descending past dozens of beautiful, glacially-fed waterfalls. The trail finishes at the spectacular Skogafoss Waterfall – an apt finale to a wonderful walk!

Hvanngil Hut along the Laugavegur Trail.

The Hvanngil hut and campground, a perfect stop for those completing the Laugavegur in 2 days.

 

3-day Laugavegur Trail + 1-2 day Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Adding an extra day to complete the Laugavegur Trail will make for a gentler pace and ample opportunities to enjoy some of the great side trips along the route. This moderately paced itinerary will be best for the majority of walkers. You’ll have the option of completing the Fimmvörðuháls Trail in a single day, or overnighting at one of the huts along the trail.

Day 1: Landmannalaugar to Álftavatn (13 miles)

Starting from Landmannalaugar you’ll climb steadily along the well-marked trail past the Hrafntinnusker hut and campground. Continue on, enjoying the spectacular views on the trail before beginning the long-descent to Álftavatn.

You’ll be able to see the large lake at Álftavatn well before arriving. Just before reaching Álftavatn you’ll cross the  Grashagakvísl River, which does not have a bridge (requiring you to walk through it). Finally, you’ll arrive at the excellent facilities at Álftavatn – be sure to enjoy a cold beer at the bar/restaurant!

Day 2: Álftavatn to Emstrur (10 miles)

Leaving Álftavatn, you’ll soon cross another river (no bridge) before reaching the Hvanngil hut and campground. Continue on, soon after arriving at the Bláfjallakvísl River, which requires great care to cross safely.

From here you’ll walk through a flat, desert-like landscape before reaching the Emstrur Hut and Campground with its spectacular views.

 

Day 3: Emstrur to Þórsmörk(10 miles)

Leaving Emstrur, you’ll cross the spectacular gorge formed by the Syðri-Emstruá River. Continuing on you’ll soon have the option for a short detour off the trail to view the confluence of the Markarfljót and Syðri-Emstruá Rivers – we highly recommend checking them out!

Finally, you’ll continue down the trail to a final river crossing before reaching the well-maintained hut and campground at Þórsmörk and the end of the Laugavegur Trail!

Optional Day 4 and 5: Fimmvörðuháls Trail to Skogar (15 miles)

We highly recommend adding on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail to your Laugavegur adventure. This 15-mile trail can be tackled in a single, long day or broken up into two days with a stay at either the Baldvinsskáli Hut owned by Ferðafélag Íslands (7,000 ISK per night) or the Fimmvörðuskáli Hut owned by Útivist (also 7,000 ISK per night).

The huts are located approximately 7.5 miles from the start of the trek, a nice halfway point if you decide to stop. Be sure to take your own hiking abilities into consideration before deciding whether to tackle the Fimmvörðuháls Trail in one or two days.

Emstrur hut looking out over a large expanse.

The hut and campground at Emstrur offer exceptional views!

 

4-day Laugavegur Trail + 2 day Fimmvörðuháls Trail

The most leisurely-paced way to walk the Laugavegur Trail is to take 4-days, with no single day requiring more than 10 miles of walking. This itinerary is best for less confident walkers or those who wish to take their time and enjoy all the sights along the way.

For trekkers utilizing this itinerary who also wish to add on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, we recommend completing it in an additional 2-days with an overnight at the Baldvinsskáli Hut.

Day 1: Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker (6 miles)

The six-mile walk from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker is one of the more physically demanding sections of the trail. You’ll gain approximately 1,500 feet of elevation over six-miles before reaching the Hrafntinnusker Hut and Campground. We don’t recommend camping here as the conditions can be quite rough.

 

Day 2: Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn (8 miles)

Leaving Hrafntinnusker you’ll enjoy a gentle downhill trail before a short-climb leads to excellent views. From here you’ll embark on a long and steep downhill to the Álftavatn Hut and campground with spectacular views of its namesake lake!

Day 3: Álftavatn to Emstrur (10 miles)

Walking out of Álftavatn, you’ll cross the Bratthálskvísl river (no bridge) before reaching the Hvanngil hut and campground. Continuing on, you will soon arrive at the most difficult river crossing of the walk at the Bláfjallakvísl River.

From here you’ll walk through a flat, desert like landscape before reaching the Emstrur Hut and Campground with its spectacular views.

Day 4: Emstrur to Þórsmörk(10 miles)

Leaving Emstrur, you’ll enjoy a nice trail with a spectacular crossing of the Syðri-Emstruá River gorge. Continuing on you’ll soon have the option for a short detour off the trail to view the confluence of the Markarfljót and Syðri-Emstruá Rivers – we highly recommend checking them out!

As you make your way further down the trail you’ll have a final river crossing before reaching the well-maintained hut and campground at Þórsmörk and the end of the Laugavegur Trail!

 

Optional Day 5: Þórsmörk to Baldvinsskáli Hut (7.5 miles)

Walking the Fimmvörðuháls Trail in two days will give hikers a chance to fully enjoy every moment of this spectacular hike. Leaving Þórsmörk, you’ll hike steeply uphill while taking in beautiful views of the surrounding glaciers. After crossing a very exposed section you’ll climb an extremely steep (but short) section of trail to reach the high point between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull Glaciers before overnighting at the Baldvinsskáli Hut.

Optional Day 6: Baldvinsskáli Hut to Skogar

Leaving the Baldvinsskáli Hut you’ll have a steady downhill walk all the way to Skogar. With the most difficult sections of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail out of the way you’ll be able to enjoy the dozens of spectacular waterfalls along the route. Take your time and enjoy the steadily changing landscape before reaching the end of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail at the awe inspiring Skogafoss Waterfall!

Hiker walking on the Fimmvorduhals Trail.

Otherworldly landscapes near the top of the Fimmvörðuháls Trail.

 

Walking the Laugavegur South to North

If you’re interested in walking the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trail from south to north, the following is a basic 4-day itinerary. Be sure to take a look at the elevation profile to get a sense of how much climbing each day will entail, as it will be significantly more than if you walk the route from north to south!

Laugavegur Trail Elevation Profile

Be sure to study the elevation profile before deciding to walk from south to north!

 

Day 1: Fimmvörðuháls Trail: Skogar to Þórsmörk (15 miles)

Walking the two trails from south to north means your first day will be by far your most difficult. You’ll begin your walk on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail in Skogar and climb steadily past a beautiful landscape of waterfalls and rushing rivers.

You’ll continue upwards and the landscape will begin to change from the lush green hills to a barren, volcanic landscape. At around the half-way point you’ll arrive at the Baldvinsskáli Hut, where you can stay if you’d like to break the Fimmvörðuháls into two days.

From here you’ll continue uphill until reaching the high-point between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull Glaciers before starting a long, steep, and at times exposed descent towards Þórsmörk. Take your time here and enjoy the beauty surrounding you! From the high point of the trail it’s about 7 miles down to Þórsmörk, where you’ll undoubtedly need to treat yourself to a beer!

Day 2: Þórsmörk to Emstrur (10 miles)

Upon leaving Þórsmörk you’ll quickly have a river-crossing to navigate. Once across, you’ll wind your way up steadily with plenty of excellent views. As you near Emstrur you’ll have the option to take a quick loop trail to view the beautiful canyon formed at the confluence of the Markarfljót and Syðri-Emstruá Rivers – a highly recommended detour! From here you’ll have a short walk before reaching the hut and campground at Emstrur.

Day 3: Emstrur to Álftavatn (10 miles)

Continuing on the Laugavegur from Emstrur, you’ll enjoy a relatively flat day en route to the lakeside hut and campground at Álftavatn. Soon after leaving Emstrur you’ll traverse a large, black sand desert before coming to the major river crossing at Bratthálskvísl. Take extra care here as this is the most difficult crossing of the walk. Once past the river, you’ll come to the hut and campground at Hvangill before tackling one more smaller river crossing just before reaching Álftavatn.

Day 4: Álftavatn to Landmannalaugar (13 miles)

Your final day will be one of your toughest, with a steep uphill section starting just after leaving Álftavatn. There is another river crossing at this point, so be prepared to get your feet wet. Once you’ve finished your climb out of Álftavatn you’ll soon come to the hut and campground at Hrafntinnusker.

It’s all downhill from here! After leaving the hut you’ll enjoy tremendous views on the steep descent into Landmannalaugar and the finish of the Laugavegur Trail. Be sure to commemorate your accomplishment with a soak in the natural hot springs!

Hikers soaking in the hot springs at Landmannalaugar.

A soak in the hot springs at Landmannalaugar is a must!

Laugavegur Trail Logistics

The Laugavegur Trail is relatively well connected and easy to access from other parts of Iceland. However, there are a few key pieces of information outlined in the following sections that you should keep in mind when planning your trek.

Getting to and from the Laugavegur Trail

The best way to get to and from the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails is to utilize Reykjavik Excursions’ Iceland on Your Own Hiker’s Pass. The Hiker’s Pass provides walkers with transportation to the start of the Laugavegur trail as well as back to Reykjavik from the finish.

You can take as much time as you need to complete the hike and can be picked up from any of the three main access points on the Laugavegur: Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk, and Skogar (for those also completing the Fimmvörðuháls). The cost as of 2019 is 14,000 ISK and the bus picks up at the Reykjavik Campground as well as the BSI bus terminal.

For in-depth information on transportation, lodging, luggage storage, and other essentials be sure to check out our Laugavegur Trail Logistics article.

Reykjavik Excursions bus

Reykjavik Excursions provides easy access to and from the Laugavegur Trail.

 

Food and Drink on the Laugavegur

With the exception of the restaurants at Alftavatn and Thorsmork (at the hut operated by Volcano Huts), there is nowhere to get a hot meal along the Laugavegur trail. You’ll find only a very limited and very expensive inventory of supplies for sale at some of the huts along the trail. The provisions vary from hut to hut, but typically include candy bars, beer and soda, chips, and sometimes instant noodles. Most hikers will find it necessary to carry a camp stove and cooking equipment. You should plan on stocking up on food, stove fuel, and provisions for your entire trek before leaving Reykjavik.

There is clean drinking water available at all of the huts along the Laugavegur. We recommend filling up for the entire day before setting out, as water sources along the trail can be unreliable and/or unsafe. 

 

Laugavegur Trail Maps & Guidebooks

The Laugavegur Trail is relatively well-marked. Trail signs are located at all major junctions and intervals, with distances to the next hut provided in kilometers. In clear conditions, it is easy to navigate along the trail. However, storms, snow cover, fog, and other issues can make it frighteningly easy to lose your way. It is essential to carry a good map.

Many maps for the route are available locally in Iceland, although you can purchase a 1:100,000 scale map here

Even with a paper map, we highly recommend utilizing an offline GPS navigation application like Gaia GPS or Maps.me on your smartphone. This will allow you to see your precise location, as well as the overall trail map, next stopping point, and more, all without using cell service. This post explains how to set your phone up to work as a GPS for the Laugavegur Trail. 

Get the Ultimate Laugavegur Trail Guide

Our downloadable Guide to Trekking the Laugavegur Trail is ultimate resource to help you plan your perfect trip. Pick your digital guide for under $20 below:

Laugavegur Trail Guide

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The 50+ page guide contains resources you won’t find anywhere else, including:

  • Custom GPS files for the entire trek
  • Three unique stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Complete packing list for campers and those staying in huts
  • Detailed information on getting to/from the Laugavegur
  • A 15-week training plan to ensure you’re prepared for your hike

We truly believe this is the best guide available for the Laugavegur.  Pick up your guide below and if your not satisfied for any reason we’ll give you a full refund!

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A trail sign on the Fimmvörðuháls Trail.

A helpful trail sign near a difficult section of the Fimmvörðuháls.

 

Laugavegur Trail Weather

If it hasn’t become clear from the previous sections of this post, Icelandic weather should not be taken lightly.  Whiteout snow storms can occur any time of the year on the Laugavegur, as can gale force winds and freezing temperatures. It is imperative that hikers check the weather conditions before setting out. The easiest way to stay up to date on the weather is to talk to the wardens at the huts. Weather updates are usually posted outside, but you can also ask the warden for more information. If they advise you not to hike in the conditions, be sure to listen to them! Additionally, the Icelandic Met Office’s website provides quality forecasts for wind, precipitation, and temperature in specific areas. 

Read more: Check out our Trip Report to get the full scoop on what the Laugavegur was really like!

 

Budgeting and Money on the Laugavegur

There’s no way around it- Iceland is an extremely expensive country. While you will be able to mitigate a ton of travel expenses by hiking (free entertainment), camping or staying in huts (cheaper than a hotel), and bringing your own food, you can still expect high prices for all of the necessary aspects of your Laugavegur trek. The mountain huts typically don’t accept credit cards and there are no ATM’s along the route, so plan on bringing enough cash to cover all of your expenses for the entirety of your trek. 

Some people (us included!) purchase food supplies at home and bring them to Iceland to avoid having to pay for expensive items at the grocery store on arrival. Specific rules may vary depending on your country of origin, but visitors are typically allowed to bring in small quantities of sealed, packaged foods such as trail mix, instant noodles, energy bars, and coffee packets. 

To get a better idea of what everything costs in Iceland, from snacks at the huts to groceries in Reykjavik to your transportation to the trail, check out this comprehensive budgeting post. 

 

Snow covered mountains on the Laugavegur Trail

Sunshine and snow in the same day? Typical Iceland!

 

What to pack for the Laugavegur Trail

For anyone walking the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails there are some essential items you’ll want to be sure to pack.

For the complete list of what to pack for the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails be sure to check out our full packing/kit list here.

Good rain gear 

Hiking in the freezing, blowing rain (commonplace on the Laugavegur) can be downright miserable if you’re not prepared. Furthermore, if things get soaked in a heavy rain (such as base layers or your sleeping bag), it will be hard to get them dry again for the remainder of your trek. Good quality waterproof items will keep you comfortable and warm, while also protecting the items in your backpack so you can put on a cozy, dry change of clothes when you’re done hiking for the day.

We absolutely love these packable, effective, super lightweight Outdoor Research jackets. For a great pair of rain pants (that are also excellent for wearing around camp), we recommend Marmot’s comfortable, flexible Precip pant.

Finally, don’t even consider hiking the Laugavegur without a reliable pack cover. Many newer packs come with one built in, but if your doesn’t, check out this Sea to Summit one. These pack covers have extra strong elastic and a well-designed strap to keep them in place (and your stuff dry), even in high winds and heavy downpours. 

Warm clothes 

No matter the time of year that you hike the Laugavegur, it is very likely that you’ll be wearing a jacket and long pants for the majority of your trek. Therefore, you’re going to want warm layers that are comfortable and lightweight. This Patagonia jacket is unbeatable when it comes to warmth, packability, and weight. It’s one of our all-time favorite pieces of backpacking gear. Additionally, if you’re looking for a great pair of quick-drying, flexible, and stylish hiking pants, check out Prana’s Brion (men’s) and Briann (women’s) pants


Eye mask and ear plugs 

If you plan on sleeping in the huts, you’ll want to be prepared for the cramped cozy sleeping arrangements that are common on the Laugavegur. Even if you’re camping, you might end up close enough to hear your neighbor’s thundering snores or late-night pillow talk. Good quality sleep can be hard to come by on the trail, especially with 24 hours of daylight, but it is vital for ensuring your body recovers after long days of trekking. We have found that these two small things make a huge difference when it comes to getting a good night’s rest.

We love this silky, adjustable eye mask because it does a great job blocking out light while still being super comfortable. In terms of ear plugs, we swear by these Mack’s silicone ones. They are way more effective than the foam kind, and they also stay in place much better. Add in these two things and we promise you’ll sleep much more soundly! 


Good Sleeping Bag

Another thing that can derail your rest and recovery on the Laugavegur? Being too cold to sleep. If you’ve never experienced this phenomenon while camping, count yourself lucky (or maybe just smart and well-prepared). Even though the sun stays up all night in the peak summer season, the temperature still drops significantly at night. If you are camping, make sure you pack a sleeping bag that is rated to 15° Fahrenheit or less. We used the Marmot Trestles 15 and stayed cozy and warm every night. If you’re sleeping in the huts (which are heated), you can bring a lighter bag (30°F), but you’ll still need to bring your own bag as there is no bedding provided. 


Shoes for river crossings (sturdy sandals or other water shoes work best)

You’ll need to complete several major river crossings while hiking the Laugavegur. Depending on the time of year, the water levels can range from waist deep to knee deep. Regardless, expect the water to be shockingly cold and very fast-moving. You absolutely need to wear sturdy shoes when crossing- no flip flops or bare feet!

Without sturdy footwear, you will greatly increase your chances of losing your balance and putting yourself in a situation that is unpleasant at best and very dangerous at worst. While you can cross in your hiking shoes, most walkers prefer to use water shoes so they don’t have to wear cold, wet shoes for the remainder of the day. We are huge fans of Chacos sandals for their comfort and support, and they work great for river crossings. Plus, strap them on the outside of your pack afterwards and they’ll be dry in no time!



For the complete list of what to pack for the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls Trails be sure to check out our full packing/kit list here.

 

Electronics

Whether you are camping or staying in the huts, you will not be able to charge your electronics at any point along the Laugavegur Trail until you reach Thorsmork. Only two of the three lodging options in Thorsmork provide electronics charging (Volcano Huts and Utivist Basar). Those continuing on the Fimmvorduhals Trail will also be able to charge at the Skogar campground or hostel. It’s a good idea to bring along a portable battery pack or solar panel to ensure you can use your phone for photos and GPS purposes throughout your trek. 

Cell Phone Service

The Laugavegur Trail is one of the rare, wonderful places in the world where it’s still very difficult to get cell phone service. You may be able to pick up some reception at a few points along the trail, but don’t rely on it being available. 

WiFi

With the exception of the Volcano Hut at Thorsmork and the hostel at Skogar, you will not have access to WiFi anywhere on the Laugavegur. Get ready to spend your downtime taking in the views and enjoying a good book! 

More information: Be sure to read our Laugavegur Trail Logistics article to prepare for all of the practical aspects of your trek!

Hvanngill Hut Laugavegur Trail

No outlets to be found here (just amazing views)!

Everything you need to to plan your Laugavegur Trek – all in one place.

Whether you prefer mountain huts or tents, fastpacking or meandering, or something in between, we’ve got you covered. Our downloadable Guide to Trekking the Laugavegur Trail is ultimate resource to help you plan your perfect trip. Pick your digital guide for under $20 below:

Laugavegur Trail Guide

LEARN MORE
The 50+ page guide contains resources you won’t find anywhere else, including:

  • Custom GPS files for the entire trek
  • Three unique stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Complete packing list for campers and those staying in huts
  • Detailed information on getting to/from the Laugavegur
  • A 15-week training plan to ensure you’re prepared for your hike

We truly believe this is the best guide available for the Laugavegur.  Pick up your guide below and if your not satisfied for any reason we’ll give you a full refund!

BUY NOW

What’s Next?

Be sure to read our entire series on the Laugavegur Trail to learn everything you’ll need to know to prepare for your trip!

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